THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

Dole Asia and Taha Foundation sign up for urban agri

Author: DA Communications Group | 4 September 2020

The Urban Agriculture Program (UAP) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) continues to expand as more and more institutions forge partnerships to stabilize the supply of food, alleviate poverty, foster social integration, protect the environment through eco-friendly methods and innovate gardening methods.

On September 4, Agriculture Secretary William Dar together with Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Director George Culaste signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Dole Asia Company Limited (DACL) and Taha M. Basman Memorial Islamic Foundation (Taha Foundation) for the promotion and implementation of UAP.

“We need to maximize the opportunity to produce our own food individually and collectively as we are still in the middle of this pandemic,” Secretary Dar said.

The Secretary thanked DOLE Asia and Taha Foundation for trusting DA, and stressed that such engagement from the private sector fuels the passion of the men and women in the government service to continue with their goal of providing an adequate food supply for all Filipinos.

“We will continue to level up our efforts so that we, as a country, can survive through this Covid-19,” he added.

Secretary Dar added that the DA and BPI cannot do the work alone and highlighted that the government needs more partners to bring this project success in the ground.

“We are grateful for all our partners and we firmly believe that with all our collective efforts under the urban agriculture initiative, we will be able to produce more food that is available, affordable and nutritious for the families,” the DA chief said.

Under the MOA, the DA-BPI will provide initial agriculture inputs, such as vegetable seeds, plastic sheets, nets for the greenhouse, and knapsack sprayer. The assistance also includes gardening modules and technical assistance from the Bureau to ensure the maintenance and sustenance of the community garden.

“BPI has already conducted a site visit for DOLE in their Makati office, and we’re happy to announce that they committed to replicate their model farm in their other branches” BPI Assistant Director Glen Panganiban said.

DOLE Package Worldwide Vice President Keisuke Oba assured the Secretary that the company strengthens their partnership with DA and BPI \toward the sustainable growth and sustainable expansion of this program.

For her part, Taha Foundation President and Executive Director Nelia S. Basman said that as early as May of this year, BPI has initiated the distribution of vegetable seeds that were planted in school gardens.

Basman added that even as schools have closed, the Foundation continued with the initiative.

“Now, we are reaping the harvests from our community gardens,” she said. ### (Kristel Merle, DA-AFID)

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