Eastern Visayas launched on Thursday the planting of 1 million malunggay (moringa oleifera) trees as one of the highlights of the 2021 Nutrition Month celebration this July.

National Nutrition Council (NNC) regional nutrition program coordinator Catalino Dotollo, Jr. said the initiative supports this year’s theme “Malnutrisyon patuloy na labanan, First 1000 days tutukan!” focusing on efforts on the first 1,000 days of life as the strategic intervention to prevent stunting and obesity.

The first 1,000 days cover the pregnancy period and the child’s first two years of life and is also called the “golden window of opportunity” during which delivery of health, nutrition, and early learning interventions will result in optimum physical and brain development.

The NNC led the malunggay-planting activity at the Government Center in Palo town.
“Planting 1 million trees is realistic in the entire region. We also urge all government offices to take part by planting malunggay in vacant spaces within the premises of their offices,” Dotollo said in a phone interview.

The NNC official said the initiative will also help decrease the proportion of anemia among our vulnerable population such as adolescent women, pregnant and lactating women.

Malunggay can also be used in various dietary supplementation programs.

“Malunggay is a viable and easy to propagate homegrown vegetable. It is a very good source of various minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and copper. It is also rich in vitamins B such as folic acid, pyridoxine, and nicotinic acid, A, C and E,” Dotollo added.

Regional Development Council–Social Development Committee (RDC-SDC) chair George Colorado, regional director of the Commission on Higher Education, proposed the activity for inclusion in the 2021 Regional Nutrition Month plan as a major region-wide activity.

The RDC-SDC issued a memorandum enjoining all members of the committee to support the 1 million malunggay planting initiative.

Likewise, the Department of the Interior and Local Government in Region 8 will release a separate issuance enjoining all local governments to support the initiative, according to Dotollo. (PNA)