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DA ties up with civic orgs to boost urban agriculture

Author: DA Communications Group | 17 September 2020

Following the positive feedback of urban agriculture and its continued expansion to stabilize food supply and foster social integration and protect the environment through eco-friendly methods and innovative gardening methods, the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), ties up with four civic organizations.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Pinas Forward Chief Operating Officer Josemaria Claro, Project Pearls Operations and Programs Director Monica Aclan, Metro Pacific Investment Foundation (MPIF) President Melody Del Rosario, and AGREA President and DA Food Security Ambassador Cherrie Atilano on September 17, 2020 in Quezon City.

“Every effort will always lead to a higher level of food production, ensuring food security for this country. At kapag mas organisado ang isang grupo, mas malaki ang makikita nating outcome from our efforts on urban agriculture,” said Secretary Dar.

Urban agriculture, a banner program under DA’s Plant Plant Plant, was launched in April as an immediate response to the food supply disruption due to the pandemic.

“With all the lockdown and quarantines, this has initially become a challenge, especially among residents in the cities.  But we also saw this as an opportunity to produce a food production program in Metro Manila. So, we re-aligned and re-focused our programs,” the DA chief said.

“The momentum is already there marami na ang nagtatanim, individual households and even communities. This effort is good, para yung mga bakanteng areas ay magamit natin for food production and substantially contribute to the food sufficiency level of the country. Gusto natin fresh and nutritious ang ating mga kinakain ngayong pandemic, hindi lang puro delata,” he added.

Under the agreement, the DA-ATI will provide initial agriculture inputs, gardening modules, and technical assistance to ensure the maintenance and sustenance of the community gardens.

Kaisa ninyo po kami sa programang maghahatid ng makabuluhang ambag sa buhay ng mga kababayan nating lubhang naapektuhan ng pandemyang ito. Sa pamamagitan ng partnership na magsisimula ngayon, nakakatitiyak po kaming mas marami pang pamilya ang mabibiyayaan ng dala ninyong mga binhi na magdudulot ng inspirasyon at pag-asa sa maraming pamilya,” said Mr. Claro of Pinas Forward.

On the part of Project PEARLS, Ms. Aclan thanked the DA for the opportunity and partnership assuring them that the assistance will go a long way especially in making the communities sustainable during the pandemic. “Ang mga seedlings at gardening kits ay hindi lang magibibigay ng pagkain sa mga pamilya pero makakapag-inspire din para mahikayat sila na maging sustainable at tingnan ang agriculture sa panibagong perspektibo,” she said.

Meanwhile, AGREA President and Food Security Ambassador Atilano mentioned the importance of public-private partnership and how it can effectively work during this trying time. “During this pandemic, it is evident that public and private sectors can really work together. I am happy to support this kind of initiative. We want to empower the communities to start growing their own food and make their food source sustainable,” she said.

On the part of MPIF President Del Rosario, she mentioned how in the last five months, the pandemic has become a “plantdemic” giving birth to “planttitas” and “planttitos” who want to grow their own food.

“We are happy that this program is progressing, and we will continue to cultivate and nurture that environment so that urban agriculture will be successful,” concluded Secretary Dar.

Also present during the MOA signing were DA Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Noel Reyes, ATI Asst. Director Rosanna Mula, and Head Executive Assistant Alexander Arizabal, Jr. ### (Rita dela Cruz, DA StratComms)

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