THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

DA, City of Pasig to “re-terraform” Metro Manila into green, food-producing metropolis

Author: DA Communications Group | 28 May 2021

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the City of Pasig joined hands with RE-TERRA in intensifying the promotion of urban agriculture in the metropolis to supply food demand, generate livelihood, and create green architecture amidst the dense urban landscape.

“The Philippine agriculture must transform into more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient, and more sustainable agriculture food systems so it could better respond to the pandemic and other challenges besetting the sector,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar during the culminating activity of the Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Month celebration on May 27, 2021.

“Agriculture is too important of a job to be left alone with the Department. We are calling for sustained and stronger public-private-people partnership. The DA should steer, the local government units and other stakeholders and partners must row. After all, everyone is part of the food system,” he added.

One of the timely initiatives of DA with the LGU and the private sector is the RE-TERRA, a design competition that calls on architects to re-imagine an existing site in Pasig City into a green, food-producing urban agriculture farm and center. An initiative that started last year, RE-TERRA is a call for innovative designs and solutions that will integrate agriculture into the cities.

“Modern technologies are there. But we are not using them optimally to bring in the level of productivity that we need. In urban agriculture, we are looking at the RE-TERRA project as a major factor in producing the fruits and vegetables needed in the metropolis by blending in urban landscape with green agriculture—this is the kind of city that we want to see,” the agri chief added.

The City of Pasig is one of the country’s largest and densest metropolises. So, for the RE-TERRA project, Mayor Vico Sotto provided three expository sites within Pasig City for the winning architectural designs to creatively and innovatively showcase urban agriculture.

“We are happy to collaborate with DA and the group of RE-TERRA for this project. The City of Pasig hopes that through this initiative, we will ignite the fire among the youth to be more involved in making agriculture more modern and well-adept with the emerging technologies and innovations of our times,” Sotto said in a virtual message.

In a presentation, architect and RE-TERRA founder Kathleen Encorporado mentioned that during the pre-pandemic, there are about 2 million families that experienced urban hunger in Metro Manila and it doubled to 4.2 million during the height of the pandemic in 2020.

“We architects are the shapers of the city. We have the power to affect the lives of the city folks with the development that we design and create. RE-TERRA is a link to the gap. On one hand, you have the Filipinos suffering from hunger, and on another, the thousands of experts streaming with innovative ideas,” Encorporado said.

“Through RE-TERRA we aspire to connect ideas and expertise focusing on our issue on food production and bring this solution to the decision-makers of our country so that we can achieve food security and consequently healthy and affordable food for every Filipino,” the young architect added.

“We need to make use of the most modern technology that we have to increase productivity. In urban agriculture, we train more urban gardeners and the likes because we need to level up productivity ten times,” Secretary Dar reiterated.

“In redefining the kind of agriculture that we want to see in Metro Manila, we also need to redefine the kind of leadership and governance at the level of the local government. For the RE-TERRA project to be successful, this has to be replicated in other metro cities as well. And this is where the “rowing” part of the LGUs come in,” concluded Secretary Dar. ### (Rita dela Cruz, DA StratComms)

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