ILOILO CITY -- The Iloilo provincial government will plant 6,000 different species of tree seedlings in celebration of the annual “Fiesta sa Kakahuyan” on September 16.

“Fiesta sa Kakahuyan” is an annual festival where Ilonggo people give importance to the preservation of the forest through a massive tree-planting activity. The province is currently celebrating its 18th year anniversary.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr., in his press conference on Thursday, announced the event will be held this year at the river bank in Barangay Bongol and Balanac in Janiuay town.

More or less 1,000 participants composed of the employees of the provincial capitol, volunteers from other government agencies, non-government organizations, business sectors and other stakeholders are expected to join the activity.

Defensor said that the activity also serves as a continuing support to the Action for Re-greening and Transformation for Climate Change Adaptation (ART for CCA) program on the provincial government.

The province annually aims to plant 1.5 million trees, including fruit trees, in the different areas in the province, under the ART for CCA program.

But Defensor stressed that the province is now gearing to shift to the massive plantation of cacao and coffee.

The governor disclosed that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan already approved the PHP10 million supplemental budget intended for the massive plantation.

“We will utilize that to procure seedlings for cacao and coffee because the province of Iloilo is embarking on a province- wide and massive cacao and coffee planting,” he said.

Currently, Defensor said that they are finalizing the program on the planting, distribution and allocation of the budget.

Initially, he said that they have decided to procure “grafted seedlings” of cacao and coffee for a faster production.

Defensor also assured that they have already identified areas all over the province suited to the planting of the two commodities.

Previously, the provincial agriculture office (PAO) targeted 90 hectares of land in different areas in the province to be planted with cacao and coffee.

Among these areas that are highly suitable for massive cacao and coffee planting are the municipalities of Calinog, Lambunao, Janiuay, Passi, Alimodian, Leon and northern areas like Ajuy, Lemery, among others. (PNA)