Gulayan sa Paaralan to support DA-Bicol’s efforts to ensure food security
LEGAZPI CITY, ALBAY – With the rising inflation rate nationwide, Bicol hitting nine percent in August, the Department of Agriculture in Bicol is banking on students in public elementary and secondary schools to help augment the country’s food security.
A total of 725 schools in Albay will engage in the DA-Bicol’s Gulayan sa Paaralan Program (GPP) 2018. According to Dr. Mary Grade Rodriguez, Regional High Value Crops Development Program Coordinator and OIC-Chief of the Field Operations Division, the GPP was relaunched as part of the DA’s priority agenda under the Duterte administration to reintroduce basic agriculture in the primary and elementary grades of the Philippine schools system.
“Agriculture is the backbone of the economy. Kahit yung mga teachers alam nila na kapag gutom ang mga batang pumasok, hindi sila productive. Kapag gutom kasi walang pagkain, hindi po productive ang mga manggagawa. Kapag hindi sila productive, the economy will not be productive as well,” she said during the Farmer’s Forum, Distribution of DA Interventions and Launching of Gulayan sa Paaralan Program held on September 17, this city.
The GPP aims to establish a gulayan or a school vegetable garden in every elementary and secondary public school. Parents and other members of the community are enjoined to participate in conducting educational programs related to nutrition education, basic pest management, food preservation techniques, composting and environmental conservation.
The DA-Bicol under the HVCDP Program provided P1.28 million-worth of interventions namely 725 sets of assorted vegetable seeds, 725 kilos of mungbean, 2,175 pieces of seed trays, 555 bags of organic fertilizers, and garden tools including 181 hoes, 181 rakes, 193 shovels, and 170 sprinklers.
“Sa DA, ang aming misyon is available and affordable food for the Filipino people. Ina-address po ng Gulayan sa Paaralan ang pagbabawas ng malnutrisyon lalung-lalo na sa ating mga schoolchildren. Pangalawa, para ma-appreciate ng ating mga kabataan ang agriculture kasi ang average age ng ating mga magsasaka ay 58-59 years old, ganun na sila katanda,” Rodriguez said.
GPP will be implemented in collaboration with the Department of Education, the participating school, the local government unit, Congressional representatives, and other program partners like the Department of Health National Nutrition Council (DOH-NNC), non-government organizations, media and other national agencies.
“Maganda po yan kasi para hindi lang naka-focus lagi sa gadgets ang mga bata. At least na-orient sila na may malaking maitutulong ito sa kanila halimbawa, makakatipid sila sa mga panggastos sa araw-araw kasi doon na lang nila kukunin yung mga pagkain na mga gulay at iba pa. Yung sobra naman, puwede nilang ipagbili, kung may kita na dagdag sa pambaon nila kung hindi sila mabigyan ng mga parents nila,” Michelle M. Ondevilla, Gulayan sa Paaralan Coordinator at San Jose Elementary School in Guinobatan, Albay, said.
“Pag may feeding program, hindi na bibili yung mga teachers ng gulay na isasahog sa mga kakainin ng mga bata doon na lang mismo kukuha para mas fresh,” she added.
Ana Liza A. Olaviaga, Gulayan sa Paaralan Coordinator at Del Rosario Elementary School in Oas, Albay, shared how the Gulayan sa Paaralan benefits indigent families in the community
“Yung mga pupils and parents na walang makain, pumupunta lang doon binibigyan namin. Okay lang kasi libre lang naman ang pangtanim, pupils din po ang nag-aalaga,” she said.
Zosimo S. Amante Jr., GPP Coordinator at Magpanambo Elementary School in Polangui, Albay also supports the GPP’s goal to promote vegetable production in public elementary and secondary schools as well as establish and maintain school gardens as ready food basket or source of vegetables in sustaining feeding.
“Pagdating ng oras na masanay ang mga bata sa elementary grade at maturuan namin sila ng tama at wastong pagtatanim, darating ang oras maa-aaply din nila yan sa residence nila upang manumbalik yung sipag nila sa backyard gardening sa sarili nilang residence at sa sarili nilang pamilya,” he said.
Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara expressed his support to the program saying “Darating ang oras matindi ang pangangailangan sa pagkain at malaki ang savings kung kayo mismo ang magtatanim ng sarili ninyong halaman.
Christopher Dalaguit, Project Development Officer II, who represented Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Secretary Francis Tolentino, cited the importance of the activity in strengthening the agriculture sector in the province of Albay and Bicol region.
“Dakula an sakuyang pagtubod na an launching kan Gulayan sa Paaralan Program may dakulang tabang para maengganyar an publiko lalo na an kabataan na makaukod sa pagtanom nin mga gulayon asin pagkultivar nin daga. Nangangadye ako na sa espuersos kan mga local officials asin autoriad pati na kan publiko, dakulaon na trayumpo sa lado kan agrikultura sa maabot na panahon an pagtiripon na ini (I have high hopes that the launch of the Gulayan sa Paaralan Program will encourage the public especially the youth to learn vegetable farming and soil cultivation. I pray that through the efforts of local officials, authorities and the public, this event will lead to future triumphs of the agriculture sector),” he added.
The GPP was implemented since 2007 through the DepEd Memorandum No. 293 in partnership with the DA-HVCDP and in accordance with DepEd Memorandum No. 223 series of 2016 “Strengthening the Implementation of the Gulayan sa Paaralan Program” (GPP). The DA requires each participating school to devote at least 200 square meters garden area for the GPP. Others may also adopt the container gardening technology. The DA-HVCDP will identify provincial winners of Best Gulayan sa Paaralan at the end of the cropping period.
The GPP was also relaunched in Sorsogon and Camarines Sur in August and in Camarines Norte on September 6, 2018. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)