By Rita dela Cruz, DA Communications Group

To ensure food availability and sustain production amidst the threat of COVID-19, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is intensifying the promotion of urban agriculture through the distribution of free vegetable seeds and planting materials nationwide.

“We need to explore all strategies to ensure that food productivity, availability and sufficiency is attained, particularly in this challenging time,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar, who has been advocating the importance of urban agriculture even before the Covid-19 episode in the country.

“With the program, we hope to provide households, especially in metropolitan areas, the opportunity to produce fresh and healthy food from their backyard for their tables. This way, we can help them attain food security even beyond the enhanced community quarantine period in Luzon,” the DA chief added.

The DA, through its Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), has been distributing assorted vegetable seeds and planting materials to interested households in Metro Manila and other urban areas in the country.

“To sustain the initiative beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, we are establishing community gardens in barangays with vacant areas so they can plant, propagate, and produce their vegetable requirements,” said BPI Assistant Director Glenn Panganiban in a report to Secretary Dar.

The DA-BPI distributes assorted seeds and planting materials of such vegetables as eggplant, tomato, upositao, okra, upland kangkong, mustard, pechayalugbatisaluyot, and onions.

“We urge the public to join us in promoting this urban agriculture program to ensure a continuous supply of home-grown nutritious vegetables on the tables of every Filipino household,” Secretary Dar said.

“Home gardening is a productive family activity during this quarantine period,” the DA chief added.

Those interested to avail of free vegetable seeds and planting materials, kindly call the DA-BPI Office at tel. nos. (02) 8525-7313 or 8524-0837 or email at