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The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) regional office in Bicol has kicked off the “Buhay sa Gulay” program to promote urban organic farming among its employees to help achieve food security amid the pandemic.
Rodrigo Realubit, DAR-Bicol regional director, in a statement on Thursday said the “art and science of growing one’s own food have been gradually lost among government workers”.
“While we continue providing free training on organic methods of growing vegetables to agrarian reform beneficiaries, we must not forget to provide the same gardening education to our employees,” Realubit said.
The regional office, he said, will provide a crop growing space around the agency’s premises in Barangay Gogon and at the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) development center compound in Barangay Rawis, besides the garden tools, facilities, and equipment needed to get the garden started.
“We are taking advantage of this year’s summer season by offering gardening basic training to our employees so they can begin planting and harvesting their bounty at work or even at their own homes,” Realubit added.
He said the program aims to make employees appreciate the value of organic farming, adopt it, and become advocates for organically grown foods.
“It can not only improve our learning but also enrich our lives through the health benefits it provides. If we can convert every corner of our premises into productive greeneries, or if we champion a cause like this, we will be able to influence other people or the community around us,” he said.
Geri Buensalida, DAR-Bicol spokesperson, in an interview, said at least 20 regional office employees have completed a one-day hands-on and theoretical training on good practices for organic vegetable growing.
“The training was conducted last May 21 with agriculturist Francisco Obina of Albay Provincial Agriculture Office at DAR regional office in Legazpi City. We are expecting after a month a harvest of different green leafy vegetables depending on the crops planted. As of now, we already started to sow seeds in seed trays with pechay, eggplant, pole sitaw, pepper, tomatoes. After two weeks, it is ready for transplanting. We also prepared the ‘medium’ to be used such as the carbonized rice hull, mixed with garden soil and chicken manure,” he said.
Meanwhile, DAR-Camarines Sur recently launched its own urban vegetable gardening projects that have now begun to bear fruit.
“The gardens occupy a 2,000-square meter portion of a football field inside the Naga City’s Holy Rosary Minor Seminary and a 2,000-square meter of idle land near the Barangay Hall of Barangay Dalipay in Milaor town,” Buensalida said.
Lerma Dino, DAR regional chief for support services, who led the project, said the training is not the project’s end goal and that she hopes it will be sustained and continues even beyond this year.
“We’ll go there in the garden every week to put our training lessons into practice, particularly the ins and outs of practically growing our own vegetables,” she said. (PNA)
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