By Myriam Layaoen and Rita dela Cruz, DA Communications Group

To help ensure food security amid the global fight against Covid-19, the Department of Agriculture calls on multinational companies, agriculture and fishery industry leaders and organizations, and agricultural state universities and colleges (SUCs) to join the government’s newest bandwagon, aptly called the “Plant, Plant, Plant Program.”

“Initially, we want them to adopt a city or a town to engage in urban agriculture and poultry raising that could immediately produce results in terms of additional food supply for our countrymen amid this national state emergency caused by Covid-19,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

“During this time, we are looking at all the areas we can cover to produce food from all levels in society. Thus, we are challenging big businesses, seed and fertilizer companies, SUCs and professional organizations in agriculture to adopt a city or town and invest in vegetable gardening, commercial crop production, and raising small ruminants and native chicken nationwide,” Secretary Dar said.

Recognizing the resources said groups can mobilize, the DA chief said the impact of their help may cascade from the city or town and then down to every household.

“Groups like the Seed Industry Association of the Philippines may establish a nursery to provide seeds and seedlings for the area they will adopt. Other agri-fishery industry stakeholders may provide other inputs such as soil ameliorants and fertilizers. We also encourage them and the SUCs to disseminate science-based information on how to successfully and profitably grow the plants and farm animals,” secretary Dar said.

“We are under a critical time. Thus, we need to work together, reorient our programs, and see where we can help best. By adopting a locality, the private companies can significantly help in producing more food in the communities, while showcasing their respective products and practicing corporate social responsibility,” he said.

Under its P31-billion Plant, Plant, Plant Program, the DA will massively promote urban and community agriculture as one of its interventions to help ensure availability of and access to food nationwide.

“Let’s intensify this now. With the help of our partners in universities and colleges, businesses, and other private groups. we believe our LGUs will seriously consider community agriculture as another way forward to food security,” secretary Dar added.

On challenging the SUCs, he said, “it is the ripe time for them to showcase their upscaled food production and processing technologies, sharing them in a big way!”

Emphasizing that food production is as equally important as a major strategy in the current war against Covid-19 pandemic, the DA chief said, “let us tap the SUCs to utilize their developed technologies and allot additional expansion areas for the production of vegetables and crops, including livestock and poultry raising.”

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