Thursday, May 6, 2021

DA allots P400M for urban agri for household food security

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) is allotting P400 million under the “Bayanihan to Recover As One Act” or “Bayanihan 2” to further expand the Duterte administration’s urban agriculture program and attain family household food security.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for recently signing “Bayanihan 2” that earmarks an additional fund of P24 billion for the DA to bankroll several initiatives to help perk up the national economy.

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He said the urban agriculture program will also include “edible landscaping,” an initiative of DA through the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) in partnership with the University of Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

“Edible landscaping or EL will now form part of our household food security arsenal,” said Secretary Dar, during the launch of its starter kit at the UPLB Institute of Crop Science (ICropS) on Sept. 18.

The EL starter kit contains a packet of assorted vegetable seeds, a “how to plant” brochure, and sample designs for a pocket garden, container garden, and community garden.

EL is a farming approach where applied artistry and basic landscaping principles are aesthetically combined with crop production, thus it also aims to provide households their supply of vegetables.

The DA-BAR has extended P8 million to UPLB to pursue the joint edible landscaping project as part of the Department’s national urban agriculture program.

“While making your surroundings beautiful, with proper EL technologies, you are not only promoting aesthetics but also attaining household food security,” Secretary Dar said.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that the agriculture sector remains the backbone of the Philippine economy.

“As the country transitions onto the ‘new normal,’ it is important that we continue our joint efforts to ensure an adequate supply of affordable and nutritious food, and improve our food logistics and transportation systems,” the DA chief said.

“Rest assured the DA will continue to implement much-needed initiatives and programs, like edible landscaping and urban agriculture, to ensure that every Filipino family has enough food on their table,” he added.

He thus urged more academic institutions, local government units, and barangays to promote edible landscaping and urban agriculture, in general, to ensure sustained production of fresh and healthy produce.

The UPLB EL project team is led by Dr. Fernando Sanchez, Jr., UPLB chancellor; Dr. Elpidio M. Agbisi, Jr., dean of the College of Agriculture and Food Science; and Consorcia Reano, dean of ICropS.

During the simple turnover ceremony, Secretary Dar was joined by DA-BAR Program Development Division Chief Joell Lales and DA Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Noel Reyes. Lales represented BAR Director Nicomedes Eleazar. (Kristel Merle, DA-AFID/DA-StratComms)

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