/ 7 September 2020

A MEASURE that seeks the promotion of urban agriculture and the teaching of gardening in elementary and high school has been filed at the House of Representatives.

Bukidnon Rep. Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba said that House Bill 7203 aims to promote and develop urban agriculture to help address malnutrition, lessen poverty, and improve the economy.

The measure also seeks the integration of institutional gardens programs in the primary and secondary school curricula.

The lawmaker said that it is imperative for the government to develop climate-resilient communities by promoting modern, cost-effective and safe agriculture technologies to ensure food security and to improve the quality of life of urban dwellers.

“According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the urban population has an annual growth of four percent. This growth could mean that urban areas will be home to more than 50 percent of Filipinos in the future. However, urban areas also experience high hunger incidence based on the 2019 survey of the Social Weather Station,” she said in her explanatory note.

Acosta-Alba added that urban agriculture would help ensure food security while the country is fighting the Covid19 pandemic.

“Growing one’s own food might be the ‘new normal’ after Covid19 that is why it is best to promote urban agriculture and educate the people to be able to plant in their own,” she said.

Under the bill, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Science and Technology will promote urban agriculture and vertical farming in urban areas. Idle and abandoned government lots and buildings, or available land in state universities and colleges shall be tapped for growing crops, raising livestock, and producing food.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education, in coordination with the DA, will integrate institutional gardens program in several subjects in elementary and high school, particularly in Agriculture, Practical Arts and Home Economics.