Born with a green thumb, it's not hard to explain why V-Guv. Julius Ceasar Herrera, is "going green" in discharging the function of the second highest elected provincial official while at the same time training his sights to the position of next Bohol governor.
Recall any incidence where he is not at home when agriculture is the centerpiece of discussion.
Whatever one calls it- green revolution, agriculture development or food security, to Herrera , they all mean the same banana.
For how else explain the fact when a scramble of chairmanships of committees in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the vice governor proved to his colleagues that being a "son of the soil", the committee on agriculture, should not be allowed to slip in his grips.
There is only one explanation to this. He loves agriculture, nothing more, nothing less.
A series of pictures in this paper showing Herrera tilling the soil is a manifestation of his penchant for food sustainability.
Just like his mentor Gov. Erico Aumentado, Herrera preached the gospel of food security at the time that Bohol was threatened with a rice crisis. It was middle of last year that both officials scrambled to the drawing table to strategize the impact of the rice crisis.
Immediately, the two top Bohol officials swung into action to put agriculture particularly increased rice production in its priority bloc to maintain Bohol's food security efforts as rice prices went sky high without any ceremony.
After all is said and done, there's no argument that agriculture is the main concern of the province and nobody can hold a candle when Herrera was given the task to handle the problem.
GREENING OF BOHOL
Green revolution may be a trite to some people let alone those who were mesmerized by its fancy objectives during the unlamented Marcos government.
Undeterred by its copycat implications, Herrera pursued his own version of greening Bohol with renewed vigor and vitality.
During his birthday last April 21, Herrera made a symbolic launching of his greening program in coordination with the Sangguniang Kabataan in his hometown in Calape.
The SK program dubbed Sama-sama sa Kalikasan, went nationwide when it was launched here last April 1 with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the guest of honor.
Herrera's initiative towards greening Bohol goes hand in hand with the SK program which calls for the planting of all kinds of crops, vegetables, coconuts, orchards, etc.
The main component of Herrera's platform of government is the seed distribution program which is now in full swing.
With backyard gardening as the lynchpin of the program, Herrera is bullish about the prospect of inducing the Boholanos to engage in this productive endeavor in order to attain food sufficiency.
"Can you imagine, if you no longer buy such ubiquitous vegetables like okra, kalamunggay, eggplant, pechay, etc. or anything edible because you can just pick them in your backyard, is one typical Herrera exhortation every time he is in the different Bohol barangays evangelizing the importance of his project
A cursory look of the figure indicating the strides of Herrera's backyard gardening program showed that the project is already promoted in some 39 towns and more than 700 barangays. It is also in as many barangays that its seed subsidy 'have taken root".
The recipient-municipalities are Albururquerque, Calape, Corella, Loon, Maribojoc, Sikatuna, Tubigon, Bien-Unido, Buenavista, Clarin, Dagohoy, Danao, Inabangan, Pres. Garcia, Sagbayan, Ubay, Anda, Batuan, Bilar, Candijay, Carmen, Duero, Garcia-Hernandez, Guindulman, Jagna, Mabini, Sevilla, Valencia and Tagbilaran City.
Rationalizing his flagship program, Herrera said the principal objective is to have food in every table by providing the seed requirements of those sold out to the idea of food sufficiency. The seeds include squash, eggplant, sitao, ampalaya, okra, kangkong, tomato and pechay.
The vice-governor said gardening is the best way to cushion the impact of the economic crisis. He told officials why buy vegetables when everybody can grow them with effortless ease.
He explained that by growing vegetables in one's backyard, a family maybe able to save the much-needed money for other needs. The vice-governor's simple arithmetic may be computed thus: if a family spends at least P30 daily for vegetables then that is something like P900 per month or P10,800 per year.
To Herrera, that's a lot of money, for a poor family. But with backyard gardening, this amount could be channeled to some other purposes.
Growing vegetables in backyards can give a family savings in vegetable budget.
Citing the irony that Bohol is considered the food basket of Central Visayas in rice production, what is lamentable is that the province is importing its vegetables and fruits requirements from neighboring islands like Mindanao.
To make the project felt in the barangay level, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has recently approved a resolution urging local government units of Bohol to make backyard vegetable gardening mandatory in every household.
Herrera authored the compulsory nature of backyard farming to stamp out his name in this signature project.
"It's about time to put substance to our call for backyard gardening on vegetables and other crops"., Herrera declared.
In the resolution, the province is committed to spearhead efforts towards the development of the agriculture sector considering that Bohol is an agro-industrial province.
"The agricultural thrust of the province is intended to increase production, food security and sufficiency and raise incomes of the farmers using appropriate technology," the resolution pointed out.
As for its mandatory aspect, Herrera is proud to announce that the municipalities of Alburquerque, Antequera, Catigbian, Mabini, Candijay and others towns have already adopted compulsive methods in carrying out the objectives of his pet project. (With reports from RVO) - Sunday Post