The Department of Agriculture continues to campaign for the greening of the Metropolis as as its partners with the City of Muntinlupa as part of its efforts to ensure safe and sufficient food supply in urban areas.
DA, on May 14, 2015, launched several agriculture and fisheries projects in various locations throughout the city including vegetable planting in elementary schools, aquaculture of tilapia in ponds and dams, urban vegetable and fruit gardens in subdivisions, and agri-enterprise development for women.
Representing Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Mr. Felix Joselito Noceda (NCR and Region-4A Coordinator of Urban Agriculture Program of DA-BPI) turned over agricultural assistance to the Muntinlupa City LGU led by Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi and Congressman Rodolfo G. Biazon.
During the launch of the Gulayan sa Paaralan, Noceda emphasized the importance of encouraging young children to take part in food production.
According to Noceda, the DA has finished crafting a training manual that teaches students from all over the country the fundamentals of vegetable farming.
Gulayan sa Paaralaan, a vegetable gardening project initiated by DA and DepEd, will be managed by the schoolchildren to encourage them to plant and eat healthy vegetables.
During the project launch at the F. De Mesa Elementary School, Putatan, Muntinlupa City, hundreds of students, teachers, school principals, city workers, LGU officials, and DA attached agency employees recited and signed the “Pledge of Commitment” in support of the Gulayan sa Paaralan.
“Small actions will add up to make a difference for the well-being of our people and the environment,” said a line from the Pledge.
“Hindi lamang sa mga rural areas, dapat maski sa mga urban areas gaya ng Muntinlupa ay nagtatanim rin ng pagkain. Di lamang matatanda, pati mga estudyante’t bata ay maaring makiisa sa produksyon ng pagkain,” Noceda said.
To boost agricultural production in the barangays of Muntinlupa City, DA provided assistance including two complete composting facilities for organic fertilizer production, solar pump for corn production, 6000 seedlings of assorted fruit trees (calamansi, rambutan, cacao, and coffee), 16,000 vegetable seed packets, greenhouse for seedling production, and farm tools.
The DA-Bureau of Animal Industry provided animals such as quail, chicken, and ducks while the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources provided thousands of fish fingerlings that will be grown in urban ponds and Magnetic Hill dams.
Katarungan Village Homeowners Association President Josie Savedia said the idle lot measuring more than a hectare inside their village was converted into an integrated urban agriculture site and has been gaining popularity as the village’s food basket as it serves as a source of commodities that sustains supplementary feeding within the community.
For more than a year now, residents of the village reap the harvest of cacao, papaya, tanglad, malunggay, lettuce, red chili, string beans, tomato, and major vegetables from their urban agriculture project.
The harvest from the project is either given to needy villagers or sold at an affordable price.
Savedia adds that, “hito (catfish), dalag (mudfish), and tilapia are also abundant in the ponds inside the urban agri site.”
She said that the urban agriculture project has tremendous benefits to Katarungan Village homeowners.
“It taught us to be responsible. Now we are more conscious of our environment and continue to transform small vacant spaces into productive agricultural areas,” she said. ###Marlo Asis, DA-AFID