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School Gardens to open this June

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Not only will the Universal Kindergarten be implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd) this June but also the Gulayan Sa Paralan by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The Gulayan sa Paaralan program has a total target of 42,076 public primary and secondary schools from all 17 regions in establishing a vegetable garden in the next five years.

Starting this school year June 2011, the DA in partnership with other government agencies like DepEd, DILG, DOH, NNC, DSWD, LGUs and the Private sector will promote and increase consumption of vegetables among children.

DA - High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) Regional Coordinator Mr. Marcial B. Fantone said that in Region IX, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay are the priority provinces of the Gulayan sa Paaralan since they remain to be in the country’s top 10 poorest provinces with high rate of malnourished children. “We have a target of 498 public schools for the establishment of vegetable gardens. We will first launch in Zamboanga del Norte this June and also provide trainings for the teachers on proper vegetable growing and management. We hope that the participating schools would sustain our project to show the young/ children that eating vegetables is important to stay healthy. This would also contribute to the DA’s goal of food security and self-sufficiency in the coming years.” Fantone added.

The DA will provide assorted vegetable seeds and other plant materials for distribution to schools in coordination with the DepEd. A competition for the Best School garden will later take place; also as one strategy to maintain the school gardens.

All participating schools must have at least a 200sqm vacant space, others may use a container gardening technology to establish the garden. The harvests, sales or income will go to the school to be used for its supplementary feeding program and maintenance for the next cropping.

The Programang Agrikulturang Pilipino – Gulayan sa Paaralan aims to promote self help food production activities and values (appreciation of agriculture as a life support system) among children. It also intends to promote vegetable production through natural/organic farming; maintain school gardens as source of vegetables to supply feeding programs; and to showcase a small-scale food production model in schools for the households and communities to replicate purposely to promote family food security. (CC,DA9)

 




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