Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar plans to sign an agreement with local government units (LGUs) to guarantee the materialization of the “Plant, Plant, Plant” campaign of the government.
“Our PHP83 billion budget this year is focused on the LGUs and other departments that will lead our banner programs. LGUs are our main partners kaya magpipirmahan kami ng Memorandum of Agreement [MOA] para mayroong equity (we will sign MOAs so there is equity).” Dar mentioned in a Laging Handa virtual press briefing on Monday.
Projects that will be funded under the “Plant, Plant, Plant Program” are: additional palay procurement fund of the National Food Authority (NFA); expanded SURE Aid (Survival and Recovery Assistance Program Rice Farmers) and recovery project; expanded agriculture insurance project; social amelioration for farmers and farm workers.
It also aims to upscale the KADIWA ni Ani at Kita direct marketing program; integrated livestock and corn resiliency project; expanded small ruminants and poultry project; coconut-based diversification project; fisheries resiliency project; revitalized urban agriculture and “gulayan” project; corn for food project; and strategic communications project.
Meanwhile, he also underscored the practice of urban agriculture as it addresses the issue of food sufficiency.
“Mayroon namang mga vegetables na pwedeng itanim at anihin in one-month time. Para sa ganun ay matulungan din natin ang mga magsasaka para mas sapat pa ang ating pagkain. Dito po sa Metro Manila, tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang Urban Agriculture at lalo po nating papaigtingin ang community farming sa mga bakanteng lugar sa iba’t ibang subdivision (There are vegetables that we can cultivate and harvest within a month period. So, apart from the farmers’ produce, we can have enough food. In Metro Manila, we are continually pushing for urban agriculture as well as community farming in vacant lots in subdivisions),” he added.
The agriculture chief called for a whole-of-nation approach to increase the country’s food sufficiency level.
“It is really needed para magaan naman ang mga challenges natin sa agrikultura (It will really lessen the load of challenges carried by the agriculture sector),” he added.
When the quarantine measures were implemented, the DA’s Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) through the Crop Research and Production Support Division started giving out free vegetable seeds and seedlings.
To avail of free vegetable seeds, the public can ask directly from their Regional Offices or send a request form that can be accessed through this link: https://tinyurl.com/bpifreeseeds. (PNA)