DA partners with UE Caloocan for household crop production program
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Agriculture (DA) has partnered with the University of the East Caloocan (UE Caloocan) for the department’s Urban Agriculture Program aimed to promote household crop production in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The DA, through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), signed the memorandum of agreement with UE Caloocan last Monday, according to a DA statement issued on Wednesday.
Other than producing food at home, the partnership also aims “to showcase food production using various technologies and other innovative gardening methods,” according to the DA.
“Urban agriculture is one of the practical, effective measures to address stable food supply while fostering social integration among communities and eco-friendly methods amid the threat of COVID-19 in the country,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
UE Caloocan Chancellor Zosimo Battad, likewise, showed his support to the program saying: “UE supports the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program through the implementation of urban agriculture with ATI and BPI. This initiative strengthens our existing partnership with the DA particularly in providing safe and nutritious food among urban communities. We will integrate these with the UE’s current initiatives on extension and community outreach.”
As part of the partnership, the DA is set to provide to UE Caloocan “starter kits,” which contain vegetable seeds, compost, and garden tools, as well as technical assistance to establish the school gardens that will also serve as sites for hands-on training.
UE Caloocan will be designating where the gardens will be established and are set to promote urban agriculture to adjoining communities.
“The vegetable gardens will serve as models to showcase various urban agriculture techniques for beneficiaries, as well as community gene bank to sustain their own production of planting materials for its constituents,” the Agriculture chief noted.
The DA in late April also turned over some starter kits to the Armed Forces of the Philippines as the two have also forged a partnership for the Urban Agriculture program. Since the program’s launch on April 16, the DA has been able to distribute a total of 2,675 starter kits, including free seeds and farm implements (sprayer, spade, plastic mulch, mesh, etc.), to Camp Aguinaldo and to the School of Holy Spirit, which are both in Quezon City.
ATI Asst. Dir. Rosana Mula said they have also started talks with the University of the Philippines Diliman and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines to further expand the said program.
Dar previously noted that the Urban Agriculture 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.
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