The Quezon Herbal Program is an initiative of the Provincial Government of Quezon through Gov. David "Jay-Jay" Suarez to reintroduce the use and propagation of medicinal plants.
The Program aims to create an alternative to health care among Quezonians through the use of a more economical approach to health with the use of medicinal plants instead of the conventional medications available in the market. This will also create an alternative source of livelihood by creating jobs particularly for the farmers and will likewise make way for the development of new products that have potential for local and even a much wider distribution (outside Quezon and international).
Quezon, a primarily agricultural province, is known as the "food basket" of CALABARZON. It is then only natural that its agriculture sector enjoys hefty support from the administration of Gov. David "Jayjay" Suarez. Through working hand-in-hand with the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), various activities have been implemented to improve the crop production rate of the province.
Since 2010, from a rice sufficiency rating of 44.17%, the province's rating increased to 57.67% last 2012.
Aside from the rice industry, Gov. Suarez also seeks to improve the production of corn to meet the growing demand of CALABARZON. This will be under the Famers' Productivity Enhancement Program (FPEP) for corn - considered as the most ambitious agricultural program the province has ever undertaken.
First implemented in the six (6) municipalities of Bondoc Peninsula (namely Buenavista, Mulanay, San Narciso, Catanauan, San Francisco, and San Andres), FPEP for corn had an initial 165 corn farmer beneficiaries.
The program has five components:
Quezon Province is the biggest coconut producer in the Southern Tagalog Region,and in the whole island of Luzon. But for the past two decades, it has been observed that Quezon is not the leading province in terms of percentage share in the Philippines' gross coconut production. In view of this, the provincial government and Gov. David "Jayjay" Suarez developed programs to restore the province's title as the country's top coconut producer.
The OPA's Pest and Diseases Management Team immediately addresses infestations as observed and reported by local government units, rural-based organizations, and local farmers. Recently, the threat posed by scale insects has reached Quezon Province. First observed on June 2013 in 1st and 2nd District, the OPA has since collaborated with PCA and RCPC to devise possible methods and strategies to control the spread of the infestation in coconuts and fruit-bearing trees. The infestation remains to be a problem, but the Provincial Government of Quezon continues to press on in order to eradicate the scale insects.
With more people growing mindful about the safety of the food they eat, organic farming has steadily gained popularity in the local and international scene. And in Quezon, the local government especially supports the cultivation of organic produce.
Gov. Suarez is proud to share that Quezon is the first province in the country to form and implement a system that safeguards and guarantees that products being sold are organic: the Quezon Participatory Guarantee System (QPGS) - recognized by MASIPAG Organization and the UPLB Agricultural Systems Cluster.
Through Executive Order No. 32 s. 2010, the Provincial Organic Agriculture Technical Committee was created to further uphold organic farming in Quezon. The province also supports organic farmers by hosting an organic market every Friday at Perez Park, called OK sa Quezon (formerly Quezon Organic Producers Association) - established on May 27, 2011.
The Developing Agriculture thru Vegetable Integration Drive in School (DAVID S), more commonly known as GulayansaPaaralan, is a province-wide project which incorporates vegetable farms in public schools throughout Quezon.
Students from these schools plant and grow vegetable seeds provided by the government in "farms" - which are simply small sections of land in the school grounds. When these plants mature, they shall be harvested and eaten by the same students who planted them.
Aside from appreciation for the hard work farmers put into growing produce, the students also learn about the nutritional importance of consuming vegetables. The decreasing trend in the number of malnourished school children since July 1, 2013 - the date when the project was initiated - testifies to this activity's success.
To ensure that farmers in Quezon Province have sufficient knowledge and technical skill in modern agricultural approaches and technology, the Office of the Provincial Agriculture continues to implement trainings and seminars with the Famer's Field School (FFS).
Under the FFS, participating farmers attend a 16-day educational program - which includes demonstration trials for specific studies selected by the participants, and technical assistance aside from the usual training module.
The Department of Agriculture, other government institutions, and non-government offices serve as partners of Quezon Province in funding and implementing some of the field schools.
GawadSaka is a yearly undertaking conducted nationwide by the Department of Agriculture in partnership with other government institutions such as the Province of Quezon, non-government offices, and the private sector in order to recognize the outstanding performance and contribution to society of farmers, fisher folks, livestock raisers, and rural/agricultural groups.
Quezon has 221 hectares of coastline, with over a hundred coastal barangays. Gov. Suarez recognizes that aside from planting and harvesting crops, Quezonians also eke out a living from the waters that surround them.