To help farmers and fishermen in Rizal and nearby provinces recover from Typhoon Ulysses and at the same time sustain the food security in the country’s capital city, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will convert some agricultural areas in the typhoon-hit places and help them become “food baskets” for Metro Manila.
Initially focusing on short-gestation crops, particularly vegetables, the DA launched in San Mateo, Rizal, its “Food Basket for Metro Manila Project”, a statement showed.
The project, according to the DA, will not only supply Metro Manila with adequate and reasonably-priced vegetables and other farm, fishery and livestock products but will also ensure steady income for farmers.
“We are allocating an initial budget of P2.5 million for the ‘Food Basket for Metro Manila Project’ that will be piloted in at least 110 hectares of rice and vegetable farm areas in San Mateo,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
“This latest DA project will also cover other appropriate cities and municipalities in Rizal, including other nearby Region 4-A or Calabarzon provinces, surrounding Metro Manila,” he added.
When asked why the DA wants San Mateo to be a “food basket for Metro Manila” when the province is susceptible to flooding, DA Spokesperson Noel Reyes said “most of farming areas [there] are not flood-prone”.
“In fact, there are two watershed in the area and below them are farmlands that were not flooded. The areas that were badly hit by flood are mostly residential areas,” Reyes said.
Dar already instructed DA Regional Director for Calabarzon Arnel de Mesa to start the project soon so that the first vegetable harvest could be attained in time for the Christmas season.
“Because of the typhoons that visited our major production areas, we should look at areas where we can plant short-gestation crops, which could be harvested in one or two months,” Dar said.
On Tuesday, Dar awarded agricultural inputs worth P807,000 for the typhoon-affected farmers in San Mateo.