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PIA Press Release

DA-7: Plant vegetables to ease hunger incidence

Cebu City (11 April) -- Teaching children the value of planting vegetables is one of the measures to virtually address the problem of hunger amid a recent survey of the Social Weather Station (SWS) that 3.4M households nationwide or a record high of 19 percent experienced voluntary hunger at least once in the past three months.

Department of Agriculture (DA-7) regional director Eduardo Lecciones Jr. in this morning’s Kapihan sa PIA at Club Ultima bared there is a need to inculcate the value of backyard farming especially planting vegetables to children as a solution to both hunger and nutritional deficiencies.

Only Oriental Negros in the region has been classified as one of the vulnerable areas cited by the SWS survey as prone to experiencing hunger of which the problem is solely limited to the marginalized coconut farmers in the province, according to Lecciones.

A vulnerable area is described as one wherein particular sectors in the community skipped one meal a day while other area classifications cited are the ‘very very vulnerable’ or triple V which refers to certain sectors experiencing not having eaten in a day while the ‘very vulnerable’ pertains to those areas with marginalized families that have skipped two meals a day, this is learned.

The major reasons attributed to voluntary hunger are the scarcity of food and the lack of money to buy food, the regional agriculture chief said.

Leccciones said the marginalized coconut farmers in Oriental Negros were identified as highly at risk to voluntary hunger because this sector is dependent on their harvest to earn money which is only once every three months. The coco harvest meanwhile is heavily affected during the hot periods, this is said.

In order to address the incidence of hunger, Lecciones said he has instructed the regional Bureau of Plant Industry to spearhead the campaign on vegetable planting with schools as target beneficiaries in Oriental Negros in a program dubbed ‘Gulayan ng Masa’ (GNM).

The GNM program started last September when the SWS survey first came out with the hunger incidence survey results which already benefited 747 schools in 25 municipalities in Oriental Negros. The participating schools were given one pack of assorted ‘pinakbet’ vegetable seeds to be planted that have already benefited an estimated 37,350 families.

Since its take-off, the DA-7 already allocated P2.5M budget for the expenses on procurement of garden tools, provision of organic fertilizers and other needed infrastructure like the establishment of greenhouses, this is contained in the GNM accomplishment report as of March 2007.

Lecciones said the acquisition of vegetable seedlings is made possible through the priority development assistance fund of Rep. Emilio Macias II of Oriental Negros and a non-government organization.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently created the anti-hunger task force headed by Health Sec. Francisco Duque III to oversee and implement the government's hunger mitigation programs of individual agencies under the National Nutrition Council to address the problem of hunger and poverty incidence in the country. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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