“The production of food is equally important as the fight against COVID-19. Kaya dapat lahat ng Pilipino ay may access sa ligtas, sapat at masustansyang pagkain.”

In his short message at the opening of the urban garden recently at the Rizal Park in Manila, Agriculture Secretary William Dar underscored the importance of enabling Filipinos, especially the Metro Manila residents, to produce their own food during the time of the pandemic.

Under a partnership with the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), and with the support of private seed companies Allied Botanical Corporation, Philippine Kaneko Seeds, and Harbest Agribusiness Corporation, Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) developed an edible landscape at the west end of the Burnham Green of the park which is also called Luneta Park.

In his message, Dar expressed his appreciation to the NPDC and other agencies and institutions that collaborate with the government in its efforts to bring Filipinos safe, nutritious, and accessible food.

“Let us establish a more permanent area here in Luneta to showcase urban agriculture, so that the people will see and learn the different technologies of food production,” the agriculture chief added stressing that learning is a continuing process.

“Dapat hindi lamang dahil may pandemya,” the agriculture head emphasized.

“I have directed the BPI to set up greenhouses and vertical garden systems.”

In line with this, he instructed BPI to continue to support the urban garden in Luneta, and directed the setting up of greenhouses and vertical garden systems.

“I commit to bring in farmers’ cooperatives for the conduct of weekend markets.”

Dar also committed to bring in farmers’ cooperatives for the conduct of weekend markets under the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita Program of DA, to provide Manileños access to fresh, quality, and affordable farm and fishery products.

NPDC Executive Director Cecille Romero thanked DA, BPI, and the private seed companies for their support and assistance to the development of the urban garden, and commitment to continue the partnership towards food security.

“Palawakin pa po natin ang mga paraan at bigyang pagpapahalaga ang urban agriculture at edible garden tungo sa food-secured na bansa,” Romero said.

The urban garden stands on a 1000 square meter lot, is covered with various vegetables including pechay, lettuce, eggplant, tomato, corn, parsley, basil, mint, beans, cucumber, and bitter gourd, among others.

It is adjacent to the Rice Garden, which is also being maintained by DA, together with the Philippine Rice Research Institute. 

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