As prices of food and other basic commodities continue to soar, the AGRI Party-list has filed a bill to promote urban agriculture and tap the youth’s participation in food security.
“We need to explore urban agriculture and vertical farming in our efforts to address our country’s food security concerns. Community gardens in urban areas will help families cope with the rising prices of food and ensure that they have access to healthy, nutritious meals,” AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert Lee said.
“These methods present untapped potential in our food security efforts. There are opportunities to produce fresh and nutrient-rich food near and in urban areas that we can grab if we lay out the proper framework that would enable Filipino families to actively participate,” Lee added.
Idle and/or abandoned government lots and buildings owned by either the national government or local governments, as well as available land resources in state universities and colleges shall be considered for growing crops or raising livestock, among others.
Under House Bill No. 1297, or the Instructional Gardens and Urban Agriculture Act of 2022, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Science and Technology are mandated to promote the use of urban agriculture and vertical farming in the country’s urban areas and in other areas in the country where such farming methods are suited.
In this regard, idle and/or abandoned government lots and buildings owned by either the national government or local governments, as well as available land resources in state universities and colleges shall be considered for growing crops or raising livestock, among others.
Local government units will also be required to formulate a policy on the practice of urban agriculture and vertical farming, utilizing unused spaces and idle lands.
Another key component of the bill is the integration of the Instructional Gardens program into the academic curriculum for elementary and secondary level students in both public and private schools.
“Now that students are finally back in school, we must also seriously consider imparting more life skills to them. The instructional gardens program will ensure that they are equipped with the proper knowledge to cultivate food amid increasingly limited space,” Lee said.
Private individuals and corporations that provide grants, endowments, donations, or contributions and technical assistance for the promotion and implementation of Institutional Gardens in the school curricula will also be given tax incentives under the proposed measure.