State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to launch the DBP Seedbank Project, a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative that seeks to preserve the genetic diversity of Philippine Native Trees, a top official said.
DBP President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel G. Herbosa said the initiative would organize and establish plant nurseries that will conserve, propagate, and cultivate native trees and flora to help restore upland watersheds and forest cover.
“As a bank for the environment, DBP recognizes the importance of supporting initiatives that promote ecological restoration and climate change mitigation,” Herbosa said. ‘’This project envisions to develop viable small-micro-medium forests and encourage the establishment of agri-enterprises to jumpstart rural economies.’’
DBP is the fifth largest bank in the country in terms of assets and provides credit support to four strategic sectors of the economy – infrastructure and logistics; micro, small and medium enterprises; environment; social services and community development.
BPI is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA) tasked to collaborate with plant industry stakeholders to ensure the availability of high-quality seeds and advanced farming technologies, maintain the safety and integrity of plant food, and support the export industry through proactive biosecurity.
Herbosa said that under the project, DBP would grant funds to eligible local government units or national government agencies, cooperatives or organizations for the payment of native seeds or wildings, as well as for their germination and propagation, while BPI would provide the technical expertise for site identification and development.
He said the seedbank project would enhance the capacities of local communities in preserving and developing the forest landscape including nature-based infrastructure development for forest protection, while providing them with livelihood opportunities as project partners.
“The bank will continue to invest in more local communities as we endeavor to further empower them both economically and in the fight against environmental degradation,’’ Herbosa said.