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Herbs, vegetables, organic chicken in Bantayan Island nurseries
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Friday, February 19, 2021

The Municipality of Bantayan in northern Cebu took the Sugbusog challenge to the next level with its impressive greenhouses and vermi-composting area as well as a section for growing free-range native chickens. 

The municipal nursery, located on a 2,000-square-meter lot in Barangay Ticad, grows a variety of vegetables, crops, fruit-bearing trees, and herbs. 

The seedlings are then distributed to residents in all of the town’s 25 barangays with around 75,000 of the 89,776 available seeds already given to the household-beneficiaries. 

The seedlings include sweet pepper, eggplants, tomatoes, cuttings of insulin plant and madre de agua, among others.

According to Ricardo de la Cruz of the Bantayan Municipal Agriculturist’s Office, the free-range chickens are fed with shredded leaves of madre de agua mixed with dessicated coconut and molasses to moisten the mix. 

This allows them to stay true to the initiative of producing organic chicken.

They also have the top 10 medicinal plants to propagate as recommended by the Department of Health, one of which is insulin plant which proves to be effective in dealing with diabetes. 

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia visited the site on Thursday, February 18 with Bantayan Mayor Arthur Despi who eagerly gave the governor a briefer on the dynamics of the town nursery.

Sugbusog, a vegetable gardening program started by the Governor, encourages the creation of plant nurseries in puroks, barangays, and towns for vegetables, fruit-bearing trees, and medicinal plants.

It aims to achieve food sufficiency and a back-to-basic approach in treating common ailments in the most affordable way.

In Madridejos town, Garcia led the ceremonial distribution of Sugbusog “Combo Seedlings in a Box” to Barangay Tugas received by Barangay Chairman Alen Chavez and his council. 

According to Barangay Secretary Angel Teves, the seeds will initially benefit the members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the barangay. 

Teves, a green thumb himself, showed the governor a space at the yard of the barangay hall maximized to accommodate a barangay nursery with a compost pit, a bagging area, and a shed for tools and equipment, among others.

“Pag-download ni Gov sang financial assistance, mipalit dayon kami sang seedlings kag gi-construct dayon namon using indigenous materials kag recycled materials. Kagamay lang sang amon nga lugar pero gin-maximize guid namon para at least damo ang ma-produce namon nga seedlings,” he shared.

Garcia also checked two nurseries in Barangay Poblacion, Santa Fe town.

Barangay Poblacion’s nursery is located on a property of the Poblacion Santa Fe Multipurpose Cooperative whose members are into food catering services. 

They produce ‘spicy dilis’ (anchovies) and tea from ginger and butterfly pea or Asian pigeonwings.

Meanwhile, the purok nursery in Purok Kalambuan is managed by 43-year-old Jessica Carabio, a participant of the Sugbo Negosyo micro-enterprise assistance program of the Capitol.

Because of the pandemic, Carabio had to stop operating a resto-bar. She then turned the space into a purok nursery. 

She qualified in the “Sugbo Negosyo” program because of her skills in baking and prior experience in tending a ‘sari-sari’ (variety) store.

“Mapasalamaton ako nga naapil ako sa mga programa sa Kapitolyo. Gipaningkamotan nakon nga mapadayon ang gardening kay nakita man gud nakon ang silbi ani sa panahon sa pandemic,” Carabio said. (Eleanor Valeros)