San Agustin, Pili, –   A total of 300 schools from Camarines Sur  province  which  were enlisted in this year’s Gulayan sa Paaralan Program (GPP) of the Department of Agriculture (DA)  were awarded  vegetable seeds and garden tools worth P10,000 per set  during the re launch of the program this year at the  DA regional office  compound  here.  The  teacher  representatives who were designated GGP coordinators also underwent training on Vegetable Gardening prior to the distribution of the goods  on the same occasion.

This Gulayan sa Paaralan Program is a collaborative undertaking of the DA and the Department of Education (DepEd) where public schools (elementary and secondary) will establish vegetable gardens of a minimum of 200 square meters within the school compound.  These gardens will serve as ready food baskets or source of vegetables to sustain the schools feeding program especially for malnourished or undernourished children.  The GPP has been implemented by the DepEd since 2007 but has been strengthened and expanded in 2016 with the DA through its High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) providing various support to this activity.

According to Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez, officer-in-charge of the Field Operations Division and Regional HVCDP Coordinator, the DA and provides the production inputs like seeds, organic fertilizers and garden tools and facilitates the conduct of trainings. She said that another objective of the program is to promote self-help food production activities and develop good values among children for the appreciation of agriculture. She added that It will also reintroduce basic agriculture and natural farming practices though gardening   which is also one way of contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

DA Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension Rodel P. Tornilla thanked the teachers for accepting the task to implement the program in their respective schools.  “This is one way of bringing back the interest of our younger generation in agriculture and food production”, he underscored.  He added that “by engaging the schools and the young in food production we are making headway towards our goal achieving food security for our country and people.”

For his part , William Villare who represented, Cecille Bernadette P. Rivera the Schools Division Superintendent thanked the DA for partnering with the DepEd to implement this noteworthy undertaking and for providing the needed goods and inputs.  He likewise acknowledged the participation and support of all the teachers and school officials in the implementation of this program.

The goods turned over to the schools included: assorted vegetable seeds, drums, seedling trays, wheel barrow, rake, shovel, water sprinkler and organic fertilizer.  According to Dr. Rodriguez also to be given later to each participating school is a 50-meter water hose.

Last year 230 public schools from Camarines Sur were also enlisted and provided with the production inputs and garden tools under the same program thus, a total of 530 schools in the province have already been recipients of this program.  Those schools enlisted last year are no longer included this year. The DA targets to engage 1,000 schools regionwide for this program.  Also present on said occasion were: Amancio V. Doblon, GPP Focal Person. DepEd, Cam. Sur, Luzena Bermeo, OIC- Provincial Agriculturist, Cam. Sur, Felipe Vargas, Agrarian Reform Officer of DA Cam. Sur who also served as the resource person on vegetable gardening.  (Emily B. Bordado/ DA-RAFIS 5/Photos by)