ILOILO CITY – A site visit and validation of 25 barangays that have committed to establishing their own communal vegetable garden are underway in this highly urbanized city.
In a phone interview Friday, city agriculturist Iñigo Garingalao said the project is under the banner of food security that was launched by the Iloilo City Population Office at the height of quarantine due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Garingalao said the “JPT (Jerry P. Treñas) Ediscape (edible landscaping) for Iloilo City” communal vegetable gardens established in 12 barangays helped a lot in providing jobs, provision of nutritious foods, and increased public awareness that they too can produce their own food.
“It adds to the symbiotic relationship of plants and the environment and the people were provided with something to do,” he added.
With the success of the project, he said that the direction of the city government is to have the communal vegetable gardens be enhanced and expanded.
“We proposed to add 25 more barangays,” he said.
Following the commitment, Garingalao said their next step is the validate if their chosen site is doable for the project.
Apart from vegetable gardens, they also looked into introducing integrated farming such that they can also plant fruit-bearing trees and raise chickens and tilapia. It will be done in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and the Central Philippine University Integrated Farming System.
After the validation, a series of seminars will be conducted for the “empowering” of the representatives of barangays.
Those who will engage in creating vegetable gardens will proceed with the land preparation and planting once tools and materials from DA will already be available.
“I would expect that the planting will start in March and ponds in May,” Garingalao said.
Since it is a communal activity, one component of the project is for the barangay to have their agri-fishery council, revive their 4-H club for the youth, and the association for mothers.
Garingalao said they are not strict with the area because as an urbanized city, it does not have a luxury of space for the so-called farming.
Those with no areas can enter into a memorandum of agreement with public schools where the garden will be established.
Garingalao added that they will also hold training on entrepreneurship so barangays have options for their surplus production.
He said they could also opt to sell their surplus products in the city’s rolling stores or hotels and big supermarkets. (PNA)