Feature: Fighting malnutrition, hunger
by Rizalie A. Calibo
Siquijor (10 October) -- Another government initiative is underway to combat malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency among children.
Aside from the food-for-school and supplemental feeding programs, which are included in the hunger mitigation plan of the national government, Gulayan Para sa Masa Program is slowly gaining the support of the localities.
With the program, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), an attached-agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA) has encouraged the implementation of households to practice backyard farming to support their daily needs in vegetables.
BPI officer-in-charge Joel S. Rudinas said that 766,863 households in the country have tapped the Programang Gulayan Para Sa Masa, adding that the responses from the localities are very "enthusiastic."
"By October this year, we hope to accomplish our target of 851,000 households. Our intention is to encourage households to setup their backyard gardens," Rudinas said.
He added that what ever surplus they produce, they can sell it through Barangay Food Terminals (BFT).
Under the program, households can plant eggplants, kamote, tomatoes to name a few. To date, BPI has already achieved 90 percent of the target households.
The program has three modes of implementations: First is through individual backyard garden, second, communal approach, and third, school garden.
More than half a million of these gardens, according to Rudinas have been established, adding that there are reports that quite numbers of Filipino families have benefited from the Gulayan program.
"Over 5.8 million kilos of assorted vegetables have already produced. Those who have already harvested, some of them were replanted their backyard gardens," he said.
The 766,863 households are located in the 30 priority provinces that were assessed by the DA's Hunger Mitigation Task Force.
"This year, we added the second 20 priority provinces, so in total it is 30 priority areas and the National Capital Region," Rudinas said.
DA Regional Field Units are providing seeds, training and services to all interested households, Starting kit, consists of seeds, some gardening tools, materials and training have been given. Hoping that in next three to five years the per capita consumption of vegetables in the Philippines will double and that the commodity should remain affordable, available at all time and within reach of the consumers.
Let's keep it this way. Let us do our share and support whoever is implementing the program. What is important is making the food available to all. (PIA) [top]