Gulayan projects on

BAGUIO CITY – Backyard vegetable-growing programs in schools, barangays and even police precincts in the City received a boost with the release of fund support from the Department of Agriculture.

City Agriculture Officer Alberto Tomas said the DA downloaded P690,000 to the City Government for distribution to the 69 elementary and high schools availing of the "Gulayan sa Paaralan" program.

Another P160,000 was also transferred to the City for the 10 police precincts and six sub-precincts participating in the "Gulayan sa Kapulisan" program.

Still another amount was allotted for the ten barangays availing of the urban agriculture project including backyard farming, the establishment of aquaponics defined as "a combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system" at Lucnab barangay and a greenhouse for strawberry runners at Sto. Tomas barangay.

Tomas said the fund will be released to the beneficiaries upon signing of their project proposals by Mayor Mauricio Domogan.

At present, the project proposals are being reviewed by the City Agriculture Division of the City Veterinary Office under Dr. Brigit Piok.

The fund assistance which was initiated by Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr., chair of the city council committee on market, trade and commerce and agriculture, will be used to further develop the vegetable plots the beneficiaries started last year using the seedlings and materials provided by the DA Cordillera (DA-CAR).

The site and its development will be the counterpart of the beneficiaries to the program and they were encouraged to use recyclable materials in support of the City's clean and green campaign and organic means of growing their products.

Yangot said the "gulayan" project was adopted to promote backyard gardening as a means of augmenting food production and of strengthening environmental and solid waste management programs in the City.

Also in line with said objectives, the City again launched the Search for Best Edible Backyard or Home Garden as part of the Urban Farmer's Month celebration in the city this month.

Yangot said 43 families from various barangays joined the contest and will be judged on May 21-25 by the board of judges composed of representatives from the offices of Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Yangot, Department of Agriculture Cordillera (DA)-CAR, Department of Trade and Industry-CAR, the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. and from the private sector.

Prizes at stake are P25,000 for the first prize, P15,000 for second prize, P10,000 for third prize with seven consolation prizes of P2,500 each.

Criteria for the contest include layout of communal garden (creativity or innovation and maximum utilization of area); technology profile (use of deep dug raised bed, compost and natural soil amendments and practice of biological method of controlling insect pest and diseases); functionality (quality and quantity of produce, produce are being sold to community for feeding program or being sold to community at minimal cost, seedlings for distribution and selling and adaption of technology from communal to household; other physical features (provision of clean and sufficient water supply, good drainage and presence of organic fertilizer and pesticide facilities; and management and sustainability. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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