The High Value Crops Developmet Program of the Department of Agriculture Bicol conducted its take – off launching of the Gulayan sa Paaralan Program (GPP) in the province of Catanduanes last May 30, 2019 in time for the Brigada Eskwela. The GPP is part of the DA’s nationwide effort to ensure the development, nutrition, and quality of education among Filipino students. Its general objective is to promote self-help food production activities and values among children for the appreciation of agriculture as a life support system.

The first leg of the GPP was launched at San Isidro Pajo, Virac, Catanduanes and was attended by 96 public elementary and high school from the 11 municipalities of the island province. It was attended by the Department of Education Representative and Gulayan sa Paaralan Focal Person Myrna Carilimdiliman, LGU Virac Representative and HVCDP Coordinator Mario Asuncion, and PLGU Representative and HVCDP Provincial Coordinator Ariel Tabuso.

Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez, DA 5 Regional HVCDP Coordinator discussed the rationale of the GPP and emphasized the importance of the project sustainability which lies on the hands of the GPP coordinators, teachers, students and even the parents. She added that the activity can support the school’s feeding activities especially during harvest time of the planted vegetables. It can also be an income generating project of the school with the sales from the produced crops.

The GPP Coordinators were also trained on Vegetable Gardening by Mr. Tabuso. The last part of the activity was the distribution of the Gulayan sa Paaralan package which included vegetable packets and various farm implements.

The vegetable seed packets distributed were ampalaya, tomato, eggplant, pole sitao, pechay, patola, upo, kangkong, and okra. While the various farm implements included seedling trays, wheelbarrow, plastic drum, water hose, organic fertilizer, and garden tool set composed of shovel, hoe, rake, and sprinkler. Each school beneficiary received a total estimated amount of P9,700.00.

Dr. Rodriguez said that the participating schools in this year’s GPP were those which were not included in last year’s GPP allocation. The GPP will also be relaunched in the other five provinces of the Bicol Region as part of Nutrition Month celebration.