Bukid Kabataan Center, General Trias Cavite | October 08, 2021
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, a lot has changed in the way we work, live our daily lives, and how we continue to strive every day to survive. These also let us realize a lot of things such as how important different sectors are. Especially frontline workers to ensure health and safety and our farmers to maintain food supply security.
In response to this, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARD) initiated the Galing-PCAARRD Kontra COVID-19 Program. One of its components is the Pagkain at Kabuhayan sa Pamayanan – a vegetable gardening and community/backyard vegetable gardening, among others. This project aims to secure food supply and help fed street children thru their partner institutions such as Caritas Manila, DOST-Calabarzon, DA-RFU4A, and CLSU.
Caritas Manila is a non-profit organization that serves as the lead social service and development ministry of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Some of their programs are geared towards feeding and nutrition campaigns to help families and children suffering from hunger and malnutrition brought about by COVID-19.
Through this partnership, various communities will be able to address their food requirements and can produce alternative livelihood opportunities in the future. Galing PCAARRD also offered technologies such as Hydroponics and Vegetable Gardening Technologies to produce more in less space knowing that most agricultural lands are already converted into residential lots or other purposes. They have chosen to rehabilitate Bukid Kabataan Center located at Barrio De Fuego, Brgy. San Francisco, General Trias City, Cavite.
“One of our greenhouse setups is using a Hydroponics Technology developed by Dr. Chito Sace of CLSU. A hydroponics greenhouse setup like this can produce 7000 lettuce and will be able to feed a lot of homeless children.”
- Mr. Fernando Ablasa | Project Leader of Gulayan sa Pamayanan
According to Bro Jazzner De Dios, Program Officer for Genesis 129 of Caritas Manila, they are happy that this unutilized space is converted into something that can contribute to helping those who are in need and help with the food security here in the Philippines.
“Ang makabuluhang resulta po kasi ng pagsasama ng teknolohiya at pagsasaka ay ang paggamit ng less resources pero mas marami po tayong napoproduce na mga halaman”
- Bro Jazzner De Dios | Program Officer
Bukid Kabataan Center (BK), which means children’s farm, is home to children who needs to claim their stolen childhood and bind their wounds with the help of caring adults. The Center is a 65 hectares area and has 17 unutilized big greenhouses build by the “Halaman sa mga Simbahan” program of the Department of Agriculture. They rehabilitated 3 greenhouses at the moment to utilize manpower and test the setups.
“We have realized how important farmers are during the pandemic and many are getting interested in urban farming and gardening. Using hydroponics and Vegetable Gardening Technologies will not just produce more vegetable but it also uses organic nutrient solutions. We also have plans to fully automate the setup so we can control the humidity and manage the farm remotely.”
- Dr. Chito Sace | Profesor 6 – CLSU
The tropical greenhouse has different growing systems. One can be planted with green & leafy vegetables, and others can be planted with fruit/vegetable bearing vines such as melon, cucumber, and squash.
“With the growing population and lesser spaces to plant, these kinds of projects are important to produce more and help more people. These can also resolve the challenge with food/vegetable logistics. Some vegetable dealers can’t enter other provinces due to travel restrictions. We also wanted to see replications of these kinds of projects once it’s successful.”
- Ms. Emelita Bagsit | OIC Regional Director of DOST Calabarzon
“Napakahalaga ng project na ito kasi it will address the specific needs ng communities dito. Malaking tulong din ito para makapagproduce ng supply lalong lalo na sa part ng manila kung saan malaki ang kakulangan. We also want to teach people that they can grow their on food at the comfort of their backyards and can produce livelihood for them.”
- Adoracion B Armada | Supervising Science Research Specialists – PCAARRD.
DOST Calabarzon will continue to create more programs like Gulayan sa Pamayaan that can sustain our food supply, create livelihood opportunities, help sustain community needs and contribute to science and technology.