Los Banos, Laguna—The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture here have formalized their partnership in establishing gardens under the DA-BPI Urban Agriculture Program.
This was contained in an agreement signed on June 22 at the DA main office in Quezon City, with signatories Agriculture Secretary William Dar and SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio.
The DA-BPI is leading the implementation of the Urban Agriculture Program “as one of the modalities that renders safe food available, accessible, and affordable while providing additional income to households and communities in urban areas.”
“During this pandemic, we have to really secure every space and see to it that we turn this challenge into an opportunity for agriculture and food,” Dar said.
“I would like to thank SEARCA under the leadership of Glenn Gregorio for this opportunity to partner with them in promoting and pursuing urban agriculture in a big way,” Dar said during the signing rites.
Gregorio said SEARCA saw the importance of promoting urban agriculture to improve the stability of food supply, alleviate poverty, foster social integration among communities, and protect the environment through innovative and eco-friendly gardening methods.
He said because of the pandemic, people realized the importance and the source of food or the food system and start to appreciate how fragile it was and how important food security was.
“With this partnership, I think we will all the more link the academe, the industry and the government. With these three linked together, I think we will have a more sustainable implementation of the urban agriculture program. I think we can have a big impact at the community and the city level,” Gregorio said.
Earlier this month, SEARCA released a policy paper that identified ways to influence the adoption of urban agriculture. Among these is the need for a massive intervention for a wide understanding of urban agriculture and the need to reignite the Filipinos’ love of planting and growing their own food to pave the way to more adoption.
Gregorio said SEARCA’s recommendations would be addressed through this project wherein DA-BPI encouraged crop production and community gardening using various technologies in households, barangays, schools and public offices.
He said the policy paper also indicated the need for the implementation of urban agriculture to be easy to follow, require less inputs and customized depending on the conditions in the garden site.
The DA-BPI has allocated funds for the provision of starter kits that include agricultural inputs and any needed technical assistance for the individual or household beneficiary. It also provides funds for the setting up or enhancement of barangay, community, school or university, and public office gardens, including the gardens that SEARCA will establish under the new partnership with DA-BPI.