DA, DepEd to implement ‘Gulayan sa Paaralan’ nationwide

THE Department of Agriculture and  the Department of Education will implement a “Gulayan sa Paaralan” as part of President Aquino’s hunger mitigation and poverty alleviation program.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala recently signed the implementing guidelines of Gulayan sa Paaralan under the Programang Agrikulturang Pilipino (Agri-Pinoy),  under DA Administrative Order No. 05, Series of 2011.

Gulayan sa Paaralan will be implemented in all public elementary and secondary schools nationwide, and targets to establish 42,076 vegetable gardens by 2016.

The gardens will serve as source of additional vegetables for home consumption.  More importantly, the initiative aims to raise awareness on the health and nutritional benefits of vegetables, as well as economic benefits by encouraging more household and community gardens.

Under the Gulayan sa Paaralan project, the DA-Regional Field Units will provide seeds of preferred and indigenous vegetables, planting materials of rootcrops such as sweet potato and cassava, and technical assistance.

Concerned Local Government Units, in partnership with the DA-RFUs/Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and NGOs and POs will coordinate with the DepEd in the conduct of trainings among schoolchildren and teachers alike. These will cover topics on growing vegetables, organic fertilizer production, pest and disease management, home-saved seed production, and container/backyard gardening, among others.

Local agriculture technicians will provide technical assistance especially in raising vegetables. They are also tasked to regularly monitor the school gardens.

Moreover, to sustain the program and to generate enthusiasm and interest, a competition on “Best School Gardens” will be launched by school district. Contest guidelines and prizes will crafted by the DepEd in partnership with the Congressional Representatives and/or Governors. Prices or incentives—such as school buildings, computers, potable water systems, garden tools and implements—will be solicited from the Congressmen and local chief executives.

Participating schools should have a vacant lot of at least a 200 square meters.

For schools without vacant lots, they could adopt container gardening technology.  The school shall be responsible in the establishment and maintenance of school gardens, as well as the production of seeds for the next cropping.

An Agri-Pinoy Gulayan sa Paaralan  technical working group at the regional, provincial and municipal levels will be formed, in partnership with DepEd, concerned LGUs and other stakeholders, to regularly visit and monitor the status of the school gardens, and recommend strategies to further enhance project implementation.-D’Jay Lazaro

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