DA sets P400-M budget for ‘plant your own food’ program

Published September 21, 2020, 3:50 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

About P400 million budget will be set aside for the Philippine government’s program to encourage Filipino households to plant their own food program, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

In a statement, the DA said it 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.

Under the “Bayanihan 2”, the DA will receive an additional fund of P24 billion to bankroll several initiatives to help perk up the national economy.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the urban agriculture program will now include “edible landscaping,” an initiative of the 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 Dar.

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 already 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,” 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.