ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/03 June) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Education (DepEd) has identified the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay as among the priority areas in the implementation of the “Gulayan sa Paaralan” program.
Gulayan wants 46,076 public primary and secondary schools across the country to cultivate vegetable gardens in the next five years to promote vegetable consumption among school children.
DA and DepEd will start the program this school year in partnership with the Departments of the Interior and Local Government, Health, Social Welfare and Development, as well as with the National Nutrition Council, the local government units and the private sector.
Marcial Fanonte, DA-High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) regional coordinator said Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay have been identified as priority areas because they remain in the list of the country’s poorest provinces with high rates of malnourished children.
Fanonte said they have a target of 498 public schools for the establishment of vegetable gardens in the two provinces.
He said the program will be launched first in Zamboanga del Norte this June.
All the participating schools must have at least a 200-square meter vacant space while the others may use container gardening technology, he said.
Fanonte said the harvests and sales will go to the school for its supplementary feeding program and maintenance for the next cropping.
He said the DA will provide vegetable seeds and other plant materials for distribution to schools in coordination with the DepEd.
He said they will also provide trainings for the teachers on proper vegetable growing and management to ensure the success of the program.
A competition for the best school garden will later take place as one of the strategies to maintain the school gardens. (MindaNews)