Philippine Department of Agriculture to promote urban gardening nationwide
“We can farm 365 days a year so let us use this opportunity.”
By Jerome Carlo R. Paunan
PIA Press Release
February 22, 2011
MANILA, Feb. 22 (PIA) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to launch next month its nationwide urban gardening initiative to help boost food security of the country.
According to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, the public, especially the urban dwellers, must use every opportunity to grow their own food even in tight spaces only.
Alcala said growing vegetables in containers or vacant lots can be very helpful, particularly during catastrophes when transport of produce from farms becomes difficult and costly.
“We can farm 365 days a year so let us use this opportunity,” he said Monday during the kick-off ceremony at the DA-Bureau of Soil and Water Management.
Alcala said the agriculture department will launch the initiative in Bgy. Vasra in Quezon City, where the agency’s central office is located, then expand to other Metro Manila areas until, “We’ll eventually cover all cities in the country.”
He said the DA will teach urban dwellers on how to grow vegetables in pots and other household containers and how to make use of organic fertilizers. Also, the agency will be giving free seedlings for planting in support of the program.
Alcala said the DA will first concentrate on promoting vegetables such as pechay, mustard, tomatoes, okra, and eggplants, as these can be harvested within shorter periods.
For his part, Barangay Vasra chairman Jose Paulo Defortuno said that he considers the the program timely and would benefit the marginalized residents in Palanas and other depressed areas.
“In Palanas alone, there are some 1,000 marginalized families so teaching people there how to plant will be a big help,” Defortuno said.