DA turns over urban farming starter kits to soldiers
MANILA, Philippines — Soldiers can also be farmers.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday entered into a partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the Urban Agriculture Program in a bid to ensure food security for soldiers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar turned over urban farming starter kits to the AFP during the launch of the said program on Tuesday at Camp Aguinaldo, the DA said in a press release.
“We thank Secretary Delfin Lorenzana of the Department of National Defense and AFP Chief of Staff General Felimon Santos for opening the camp and rallying behind us in ensuring food security for the Filipino people,” Dar said.
The DA explained that urban agriculture, which forms part of the government’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program, “aims to empower city dwellers to grow their own food to attain household food security.”
The project also seeks to establish community gardens in open spaces in the barangay level, which may provide extra income in case of surplus production, to tide them over during the quarantine period.
Four livelihood areas were established inside the camp for vegetable production, rabbit and poultry raising, as well as a fishery, which will all be managed by the Wounded Soldiers Cooperative, the DA stated.
Dar said the urban agriculture sites inside Camp Aguinaldo may also serve as learning centers for soldiers and even civilians interested in kitchen gardening.
“We will provide you starter kits so you can grow and raise vegetables and small animals. Once your project becomes sustainable, please share your learning and technology with others,” the Agriculture chief said.
He noted that the program is part of the DA’s initiative to address food security issues while Metro Manila and other parts of the country are under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Dar previously gave assurance that the country has “more than enough supply” of food this year, with rice supply good for 94 days, corn supply good for 234 days, fish supply good for two days, vegetable supply good for six days, and chicken supply good for 253 days.