PRESS RELEASE
Department of Agriculture
RFU 5 San Agustin, Pili, Camarines Sur
Sept. 3, 2007

Gulayan sa Bawat Paaralan launched


The Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Department of Education launched the Gulayan sa Bawat Paaralan. The program aims to increase vegetable consumption and reduce prevalence of malnutrition among school-age children. This is a national program tied up with the President’s Programang Agrikultura Para sa Masa - a hunger mitigation project being implemented in the country’s most vulnerable rural communities.

A total of 37, 399 elementary schools and 5, 781 high schools nationwide were targeted in the program. For the Bicol region 3, 177 elementary and high schools were included in the program. Recently, the Department of Education in Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte launched the said program. Over 90 school principals and teachers attended the launching and training.

Each school will establish a 200 square meter garden planted with malunggay, kamote tops, alugbati, upland kangkong, patani, batao, sitao, saluyot, paayap, papaya and many more. The project will likewise encourage the pupils to form local garden clubs, update the knowledge of teachers and improve the school garden facilities.
During the launching the DA distributed packets of vegetable seeds, garden tools and IEC materials to targeted schools. Aside from this, organic fertilizers will also be provided to enhance the growth of the vegetables and promote organic vegetable gardening.

According to Dr. Cecile Bernadette Rivera the Asst. Schools Division Superintendent of Camarines Sur, the project will not only inculcate the value of planting vegetables among the students but it will also promote among the pupils the importance of eating vegetables. Rivera also said that the project is really timely and relevant since children at their young age must give importance to gardening as an exciting and profitable venture.

Dr. Elizabeth Palo, the Divisions School Superintendent of Camarines Norte on the other hand said that it pays to teach children how to plant since it can be related to actual teaching of science. She said that in this computer age children must not only surf the net or play the computers they should also find time to explore through gardening by seeing for themselves the different stages of plant growth. With actual experience children could easily learn and apply what they saw in real life situations. She expressed her gratitude to the DA for launching the project and she optimistic that the project will be sustained.

Meanwhile, OIC RED Jose V. Dayao said, with the alarming rate of malnutrition in the region and the widespread poverty he is appealing to the teachers to continue encouraging pupils to plant and eat vegetables. Because he believes that the teachers are potent information disseminators and pupils easily follow what the teachers are saying. He urged all teachers and principals to support the program and massively promote the project in order to achieve the goal of alleviating poverty and reduce incidence of malnutrition in the region. (m.r.ilan)