MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon, Sept. 15 --To support the "Ahon Lahat, Pagkain Sapat Kontra sa COVID-19 or ALPAS COVID 19" and the "Plant, Plant, Plant Program" of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) implements the Urban Agriculture Program in the urban and rural areas of the different regions. This initiative intends to localize food production and ease pressure on transporting goods from production areas to market centers in this time of pandemic where movements are regulated for safety and virus containment purposes.
The program launching and orientation for the 'Adopt-a-Community' in support of the Urban Agriculture Program of the DA was a success through the center's "Go Urban Gardening: Making Food Available (GUGMA)" gardening initiative last August 12-18, 2020 at Jaya Secret Garden in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
This time, a total of 101 participants-composed mostly of Solo Parents and empowered Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) particularly deaf and mute who are still able to do gardening-played a part in the orientation and training. Persons with disabilities (PWDs), according to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
PWDs and solo parents, who are also beneficiaries of the 'Cash for Work Program', are priority participants of the said training as identified by the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) of Malaybalay City.
Only 20 participants can be accommodated in each event of the said "Urban Agriculture Program" series of training as the DA-ATI organizing committee urged participants to observe proper health protocols and social distancing. The GUGMA gardening initiative is in partnership with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Malaybalay specifically the City Agriculture Office (CAO), CSWD, and the Learning Site (LS) operator Mr. Junah S. Bayag of Jaya Secret Garden.
Bayag shared his farming expertise and experience to the participants during the training proper. The activities during the training include a short opening program, hands-on activity, urban garden tour, garden layout/garden development plan workshop, presentation of outputs, mind-setting, and the open forum.
OIC-Assistant Center Director Noemi Beth G. Macario stressed in her message that there is a need to educate people in urban areas about proper planting of vegetables and how to sustain food availability at home. Further, she emphasized that opportunities will come along the way on their gardening activities.
Specifically, the participants were expected to perform and know how to use recyclable materials as planting pots; how to properly apply fertilizer; produce seedlings; identify natural enemies and insect pests; manage common insect pests and diseases; produce and use concoctions; harvest using proper procedure and establish their own backyard garden.
The participants also received assorted vegetable seeds from the City Agriculture Office and additional agricultural supplies that will be used for the establishment of their mini-nursery and household gardens. (with reports from Jisa Tambiado-Dulay,ATI 10/PIA Bukidnon)