model Gulayan sa Paaralan instills value of hardwork
and Bayanihan spirit
More and more
farm lands are being left idle as the elderly farmers retire
from attending to them due to old age and disabilities without
transferring their farming skills and techniques and the love
and commitment to till land to their children or heirs. Majority
of our youth prefer working in the cities and urban centers as
they find farming a less dignified job. As a consequence the
productivity of our countrys agricultural sector is also
There is thus, a need to inculcate and deepen appreciation among
the youth the importance of agriculture not only in our economy
but also in our life. This is the main rationale for the implementation
of the Gulayan sa Paaralan Program by the Department of Agriculture
in partnership with the Department of Education.
School gardens in public schools are being established and planted
to various vegetables by the student themselves for them to appreciate
the value and importance of producing the food that sustain us
not only physically but also mentally and financially.
One such public high school which has participated in this undertaking
is the Medroso - Mendoza High School in the upland barangay of
Binanuanan Pequeño in Calabanga, Camarines Sur. The school
has a student population of 393 students with 10 regular teachers.
Under the supervision of the school head, Erning Peñaranda
a portion of the school ground - about 3,000 square meters was
converted into a vegetable garden. Land preparation was done
using the tractor lent for free by the municipal government.
The PTA provided the labor and the seed money of P10,000for the
purchase of the seeds and garden tools. The LGU technician and
DA regional staff provided technical assistance.
Planting was done in December of 2011. The garden was divided
into plots and planted with the assorted vegetables. Upon the
invitation of Dr. Gloria Salazar, focal person of Gulayan sa
Paaralan - the author together with the documentation team of
RAFID we visited the school first week of February this year.
The garden was teeming with green vegetables which were already
full grown and starting to bear fruit. According to Mr. Peñaranda
they planted a total of 800 heads of cabbage; 1,500 radish, 1,000
tomatoes, 50 ampalaya (bitter gourd), and 260 cucumber. There
were also 20 plant beds measuring 22 x 23 planted to pechay.
At that time of our first visit the radish plants were ready
for harvest and the PTA officers were around to do the harvesting.
We were invited for the harvest
of the rest of the vegetables on the last week of February. This
time we were with Mr. Abner Rivera, Technology and Livelihood
Education Coordinator of DepEd Camarines Sur province and Mr.
Jimmy Tipuno, TLE Teacher of Turague High School in Sangay who
wanted to see and learn the good practices of the Model Gulayan
and adopt these in his own school. The tomato plants were sagging
and almost touching the ground despite the support that were
set around them because they were laden with so many fruits.
The highest count was 65 tomato fruits for one plant and the
average is 50 fruits per plant according to Mr. Peñaranda.
Mr. Rivero computes that at a conservative estimate of 3.5kg
of tomatoes per plant and a farm gate price range of P16 to P18
per kilo, the school will derive a gross income ranging from
P56,000 to P63,000. And that was only the first harvest from
the tomato plants. More fruits are expected to be harvested from
them in the next several weeks.
Although the outer leaves of the cabbage were attacked by pests,
its interior part were still intact and saleable. They still
expect to earn an income of about P50,000 more as the ampalaya,
upo and pechay have yet to be harvested. And more harvests are
expected from the tomato plants.
Mr. Peñaranda reported that from the sale of radish harvested
three weeks earlier. They were able to derive an income of P2,200.
Already, the school is preparing for the second cropping comes
school opening in June. Eggplant and pepper will be planted.
Seeds have already been planted in seedbeds. Dr. Salazar has
also recommended the planting of indigenous vegetables which
the DA is currently promoting. Some of these indigenous crops
are winged beans, patani.
To distract the pests from attacking leafy vegetables planted
in the garden,the municipal technician assigned in the barangay
, Melinda Barrios recommended the planting of okra around the
garden. She explains that instead of attacking the other vegetables
especially the leafy ones like pechay and cabbage, the insect
pests will be feeding on the broad leaves of the okra and this
will have no significant loss on the okra production after all,
what are being harvested are the fruits. She also suggested the
planting of flowering plants like marigold or lemon grass as
they serve as insect repellent.
Aside from the income that the
school and the PTA had derived from the Gulayan sa Paaralan program,
Mr. Peñaranda pointed out that the intangible results
are the appreciation by students as well as the parents of the
importance of agriculture in their life as a source of
food and income. It also provided an opportunity for inculcating
among the students the value of work, industry, caring for the
environment and discovering and developing the hidden wealth
of the soil and other natural resources. He added that the activity
also paved the way for a stronger and more harmonious relationship
between the school and the parents. The bayanihan spirit was
once more rekindled and revived as the parents, students, school
officials, government agencies like the DA and DepEd, LGU and
other members of the community joined hands to support the project.
Mr. Rivero said that the school is now considered a model school
garden project and it will serve as a showcase for other schools
to emulate. He said he will recommend to their Division Office
to include in the itinerary of educational tours of various schools,
visit to model gulayan school projects such as that of Medroso-Mendoza
High school project.
There is a saying that to plant a garden is to believe in the
future. Yes, the Department of Agriculture, the DepEd and other
partner agencies believe in the future and that future is in
the hands of our youth who will plant the seeds of hope for our
country and people.