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Marcos eyes urban farming to address high food prices


MANILA, March 2 ------ The Philippine government is pushing for urban farming as part of efforts to address rising food prices and supply shortages, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. said.


The “Hapag Kay PBBM," launched by the Interior and Agriculture departments at Rizal Park, encourages urban barangays and households to dedicate small patches of land to plant fruits and vegetables. “Ang ginagawa natin dahil nagkakaproblema tayo sa bilihin at tumataas ang presyo ay sinasabi natin, bakit hindi ang ating mga kababayan ay sila na ang magtanim," Marcos, the concurrent head of the agriculture portfolio, said during his speech. "Mayroon sila doon sa mga gilid-gilid ng kanilang mga tinitirahan ay magtanim sila ng gulay, maglagay sila ng prutas at mayroon pang ibang kasamang project galing naman DILG na barangay-based,” he added.


The program merges the Department of Agriculture's "Green Revolution 2.0: Plants for Bountiful Barangays" program and the DILG’s "Halina’t Magtanim ng Prutas at Gulay" project. The former aims to increase local production of fruits and vegetables by turning urban, peri-urban, and rural areas into patches of green, edible landscapes, while the latter seeks to build community gardens in every barangay to diversify food sources and contribute to food security within each neighborhood.


Marcos said villages would be the ones to identify areas where residents could plant. "Lahat sila magshe-share sila ngayon doon, paghahati-hatian nila ang mga aanihin nilang gulay at saka prutas para ulit ay mayroon tayo, may suporta ang pamahalaan diyan at bibigyan natin sila ng mga inputs, at kung kailangan turuan, gagawin din natin ‘yun," the President said. He also expressed confidence that the urban farming program will increase the country’s capacity “to address poverty, ensure food security, and protect the environment even at the barangay level.”


Meanwhile, Marcos, Jr also led the opening of another Kadiwa market, also at Rizal Park. The Kadiwa, which was launched by the government last year, provides a market to the country’s local agricultural producers while at the same time giving the public access to affordable and high quality products. Kadiwa stalls are led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the DA. “Noong natapos na ‘yung Pasko, sabi ng mga iba ipagpatuloy daw namin. Kaya’t ginawa na naming Kadiwa ng Pangulo at pinaparami natin ito sa buong Pilipinas. Hindi lang po rito kung hindi siguro halos 500 na lugar ang ating natayuan ng Kadiwa,” he said. "Kaya’t itong pinagsama-sama natin ‘yung ating tinatawag na whole-of-government approach para sa lahat ng problema.” He also visited the newly-launched "Kadiwa ng Pangulo" stall in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.


The National Food Authority (NFA), DA, DTI and local government units have brought in a total of 35 sellers that participated in the program. During his speech in Batangas, Marcos underscored the important role of the project in helping the farmers and fisherfolk to have direct access to the consumer market. Kadiwa stores will also help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to recover from losses due to the pandemic.


“Ito ay pagkakataon para ‘yong mga produkto naman na ginagawa ng lokal ay mabigyan ng merkado para meron silang mapuntahan at ipagbili ang kanilang mga magagandang produkto,” the President said. “Sana naman po ay ito po ay pinaparami po namin. Hindi lang po rito sa Sto. Tomas, hindi lang po sa Maynila, kung hindi pati na sa iba’t ibang lugar sa buong Pilipinas. At sa huling bilang ko ay nakalampas na tayo sa 500 na Kadiwa na ginagawa sa buong Pilipinas,” he said.


Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, for his part, said there are products in the Batangas Kadiwa market that have great potential for export such as egg powder and fruit juices. “The eggs are coming from a cooperative with hundreds of members and being brought together… the eggs are processed into products that can be used by institutional establishments like restaurants and home cooking,” he said. “Guyabano, Calamansi, these health concoctions with turmeric, ginger etc. Another big potential. According to the owner, there have been discussions with a potential exporter from Japan,” he added.


The Presidential Communications Office said that since last year, government has been able to launch 500 Kadiwa markets nationwide. Places like Manila, Quezon City and Cebu have also started putting up their own Kadiwa markets.


Source: news.abs-cbn.com

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