BUTUAN CITY – Despite of the challenges brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the regional office of the Department of Agriculture (DA)– Caraga also continued to advocate backyard vegetable gardening to help ease the impact of the pandemic, DA 13 Regional Spokesperson Emmylou T. Presilda on Monday said.

Recently, the DA-Caraga Region 13 partnered with the City Agriculture Office (CAO) of Butuan City to launch Urban Agriculture in Fort Poyohon, one of the urban barangays in this region’s premier and capital city.

“Our regional office provided some agricultural needs to fully support the urban agriculture project,” the DA 13 regional spokesperson told The Manila Bulletin on Monday.

DA – Caraga Supervising Agriculturist Melody Guimary also said that the unavailability of wide vacant lots should not be a hindrance to having your own food production initiative.

“With urban agriculture, we only need a little space, or we can also make use of empty containers to plant on so there is no excuse that one cannot plant,” she said.

In addition, Guimary said that since urban areas are usually densely populated hence it has a higher food demand and this is why having one’s own food production initiative is important especially at this time when the people’s movement is limited.

Urban agriculture is one of the initiatives under the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat or ALPAS COVID which is otherwise known as the Plant Plant Plant Program which was launched by the DA in response to the global pandemic. The program aims to provide adequate, accessible, and affordable food for every Filipino family.

On the other hand, Butuan City Agriculture Office OIC Pierre Anthony Joven said it is really important to have one’s own food source to overcome the challenges posed by the global pandemic.

Fort Poyohon is one of the urban barangays of Butuan City. It has 1,200 households and a population of 6,000.

Barangay Chairman Archie Palad said that they are thankful for the support of the government and for teaching the people various ways to cope with the pandemic.

DA – Caraga High-Value Crops Development Program Coordinator Marco Antonio Morido said that in support of the program, the DA provided the community with planting materials, pots, fertilizer, as well as technical assistance.

Meanwhile, DA 13 Regional Executive Director (RED) Abel James I. Monteagudo also told The Manila Bulletin on Monday that the agency will continue assisting local government units in urban agriculture project.