LEGAZPI CITY, ALBAY – The search is on for the best implementer of the Department of Agriculture’s Gulayan sa Paaralan in Bicol 2019. This was announced by DA-Bicol High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) Report Officer Renato D. Acacio during the HVCDP 3rd Quarter Provincial and Municipal Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) Meeting and Workshop held in this city on September 12-13, 2019.

Public primary and secondary schools in Bicol with at least a minimum of 200 square meter vacant lot for use as school garden, or the equivalent in several land patches are qualified to participate in the contest. Schools that do not have vacant lot but have adopted container gardening technology in a consolidated land area equivalent to 200 square meters may also join. Only one nominee per school division with complete portfolio shall be subjected to regional technical review by evaluators from DA-Bicol and the Department of Education-Bicol.

Nominees will be evaluated based on compliance with the required land area as well as on the level of participation, management skills, resource generation, technical skills and decision making demonstrated at their school gardening activities. The Best Gulayan sa Paaralan Contest also puts premium on innovativeness, value adding, and program impact as well as presence of composting facility, creativity, use of recycled materials and documentation.

Deadline of submission of scrapbook to the DA Regional Field Office 5 will be on October 25, 2019 at 5 p.m. Top five schools will be selected during the technical review and will be visited for final site validation.

Winners will receive plaques of awards and agri-inputs worth P10,000 to P30,000 during the awarding ceremonies in November 2019.

Acacio urged the AEWs to provide technical support to participating schools, especially the teachers. He also cited an online survey which showed that education ranked second among the social causes that millennials are interested in while agriculture was rated 31st  thus, promoting agriculture in schools through the Gulayan sa Paaralan program is a strategic way of intensifying the DA’s advocacy of engaging the youth in agricultural-related activities. The Gulayan sa Paaralan was reintroduced to 720 primary and secondary schools in Bicol in 2018. In 2019, the program engaged about 920 schools regionwide. By promoting self-help food production activities and values among school children, the program aims to support the Department’s goal of achieving food security and self-sufficiency. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)