Initially focusing on short-gestation crops, particularly vegetables, the Department of Agriculture (DA) launched recently in San Mateo, Rizal, the “Food Basket for Metro Manila Project” that will augment the supply of vegetables, fruits, livestock, and fishery products to Metro Manila.

“We are allotting an initial budget of P2.5-million for the ‘Food Basket for Metro Manila Project’ that will be piloted in at least 110 hectares of rice and vegetable farm areas in San Mateo,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar before local officials and staff, led by acting Mayor Jose Rafael Diaz.

“This latest DA project will also cover other appropriate cities and municipalities in Rizal, including other nearby Region 4A or CALABARZON provinces, surrounding Metro Manila,” Dar added.

The agriculture chief announced the project during a dialogue with San Mateo municipal officials and farmers, who were affected by typhoon “Ulysses.”

“Start the project soonest so that the first vegetable harvest could be attained in time for the Christmas season.”

The agriculture head instructed DA CALABARZON Director Arnel de Mesa to start the project soonest so that the first vegetable harvest could be attained in time for the Christmas season.

He said the “Food Basket for Metro Manila Project” will not only ensure a steady income for farmers and their families but also supply Metro Manilans with adequate and reasonably-priced vegetables and other farm, fishery, and livestock products.

The project was broached by Diaz, who said that San Mateo could be transformed into one of the food baskets of Metro Manila, with its tracts of farming areas and hardworking farmers and rural folks.

Dar strongly supported the idea, noting that it is part of DA’s mandate to partner with provinces, municipalities, and cities to address the national concerns on food security, particularly ensuring the availability, accessibility and affordability of major food commodities.

“Because of the typhoons that visited our major production areas, dapat ‘yung pwedeng tamnan ng mga short-gestation crops, ‘yung pwedeng maani na in one month or two months, ay ‘yun na ang itatanim natin para merong sapat na supply sa Metro Manila pagdating ng Christmas,” he said during the awarding of P807,000-worth of agricultural inputs for the typhoon-affected farmers of San Mateo.

“Kahit po malapit kami sa siyudad, ay sinisikap po namin maging food basket ng Metro Manila. Sinisikap po namin ma-revive yung interes ng mga tao, interes ng mga bata na mag-aral muli ng agrikultura,” Diaz said.

“San Mateo can be a pilot site for new systems, technologies, or projects.”

He said the DA can help make their vision a reality and proposed that San Mateo can be a pilot site for new systems, technologies, or projects that the department would like to test or initiate.

“I want the project to be started here in consultation with the municipality. In the future, make this the model of production area for Metro Manila. All the technologies can be started here and high-value agriculture will be the focus,” Dar stressed.

He added that Metro Manila will always be a good market and a source of income for farmers if they produce what is required by consumers in the national capital region.


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