MANGALDAN, Pangasinan -- The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is looking at propagating bamboo, fruit bearing trees and tulips in Northern Luzon to boost the government’s reforestation program.
In a phone interview Monday, Secretary Raul Lambino, Presidential Assistant for Northern Luzon and CEZA Administrator and Chief Executive Officer, said they have identified some areas in Pangasinan like Sual and Aguilar towns where there are vast government lands that can be planted with bamboo.
Lambino said they have also invited multi-million investors to put up businesses in Cagayan province and other areas to benefit the locals, especially the farmers.
"We are committed to put up the laboratory of Beema bamboo and other bamboo species there at CEZA. We are talking with investors in India to put up a tissue culture laboratory in CEZA. We are going to propagate and provide seedlings to different provinces," he remarked.
"The Beema specie is like the kawayan bayog in the Philippines, but it is better than bayog in a way kasi (because) it is heavier. It can be used for furniture, source of fuel, textile, paper, etc. and it can be a very good material for construction. This is the most sought-after material in India for energy. We hope that we can plant more and harvest more of this specie. This will help not just in the reforestation efforts but also in the development of cleaner energy rather than on relying on fossil fuel," he explained.
Lambino said he had initially talked with the mayor of Sual as well as officers of Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officers and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
"This would complement the efforts of former Alaminos City mayor Arthur Celeste, and now Mayor Arth Bryan Celeste, for their bamboo industry. I heard Alaminos City got assistance from Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation for their engineered bamboo factory. We have to help that industry in Alaminos, we have to sustain that. I am coordinating closely with Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar," he added.
For the propagation of fruit-bearing trees, he said that based on studies conducted, the province of Apayao would be an ideal place to plant lanzones, rambutan, and durian.
"We have identified more than 1,000 hectares that used to be New People’s Army-infested. We are prioritizing that as possible areas for investors that would be interested to pour in capital for the growing of these high-value fruits. I've talked to the governor of Apayao a couple of months ago during our Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting, I brought up the idea and she (Governor Eleanor Bulut-Begtang) is excited about it," Lambino disclosed.
Accordingly, they also have identified several areas in Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and in the Cordillera region for fruit bearing trees.
Lambino said they are also looking into the possibility of propagating tulips at the mountain areas of San Nicolas, Pangasinan and Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya.
"We have also talked with experts in flower-growing, the soil, as well as the temperature. (Areas) between Pangasinan and Nueva Vizcaya would be most suitable for tulips, and it can thrive all-year round,” he said.
Construction of Valle Verde Trail, connecting Eastern Pangasinan and Nueva Vizcaya is ongoing.
Lambino said he had talked with the Department of Public Works and Highways Region 1 director and he was assured to prioritize completing the Pangasinan side.
Completion of the new road network will greatly help farmers from the upland bring down their farm produce to the market, he added. (PNA)