THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Visayas produced close to nine million seedlings as part of the agency’s National Greening Program (NGP).

The number of seedlings ready for planting covers about 79 percent of the overall annual target of the region, which is 11 million seedlings for this year, said Dr. Isabelo Montejo, DENR 7 executive director.

Montejo said that of the 8.8 million seedlings, 2.5 million were produced within Cebu Province. The number is equivalent to 63 percent of the province’s target of 3.9 million seedlings.

While in Bohol, about 2.2 million seedlings were produced or 80 percent of its target of 2.7 million seedlings.

In Negros Oriental, 4 million seedlings or 95 percent of its annual target of 4.2 million seedlings were also produced as well.

While in Siquijor, about 29,500 seedlings out of 96, 500 target were also produced.

Montejo attributed the good performance in seedling production due to regular monitoring and provision of technical assistance to some people’s organizations, the participation and involvement of local government units; and proper technology

resources in raising quality seedlings.

Montejo said that aside from achieving their targets, they also ensured that they will be able to produce quality seedlings to supply tree planting and growing programs.

Based on the regional NGP program, the DENR is targeting green about 1.5 million hectares of degraded forest lands.

The NGP will focus on developing a sustainable forest resource base to accelerate the national greening campaign and rejuvenate rural communities in parts of the nation’s most poor areas in the uplands.

The NGP also seeks to improve water quality in rivers and irrigation for farm lands, reduce the potential for flooding, soak up carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and to lay the foundation for an expanded wood-products economy.