DA launches Plant, Plant, Plant Program as the "new normal" in agriculture to ensure food security

The agriculture department in Palawan has launched its Plant, Plant, Plant Program in Puerto Princesa City to ensure adequate food supply during and beyond the coronavirus disease pandemic.

Also dubbed “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Laban sa Covid-19”, the launch was jointly held with the city government on Tuesday at its urban garden on the grounds of the City Coliseum along the national road in Barangay San Pedro.

Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer (APCO) officer Vincent Binasahan said the launching is also part of the “new normal” in the practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals.

Binasahan said the program is not only limited to the planting and farming of crops and livestock but also fisheries.

“Kapag sinabing Plant, Plant, Plant Program, we are not only dealing with crops — tinutukoy din natin pati yong livestocks at fisheries,” he said.

“Dito naman sa ating Plant, Plant, Plant ay meron tayong high-value crops, high-value vegetables and at the same time kasama ‘yong rice,” Binasahan added.

He said the program will not only help ensure food sufficiency but will also benefit farmers, fishers, and the consumers of agricultural products.

It also seeks to build-up national agri-fishery products through the intensified use of quality seeds, appropriate farm inputs, modern technologies to increase productivity across all commodities, accessibility of food, and affordability, particularly during the pandemic.

The city’s urban agriculture and gulayan project are one of the sub-programs under the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program which started a few weeks after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was implemented in the entire Luzon.

City agriculture officer Melissa Macasaet said that in cooperation with the Oplan Linis Program Management Office and the City Mayor’s Office, they have utilized the grounds at the coliseum to plant vegetables and some fruits and made it a model of urban gardening.

“Yong seeds ay from Gintong Butil Agrifarm at saka sa mga iba natin na seed programs na ipinatupad sa city. Galing din sa Department of Agriculture dahil gusto natin na isabay din yong launching ng Plant, Plant, Plant kaya nag-provide din sila ng ibang seedlings,” she said.

“Ang gusto kasi natin makita base sa aming experience, nakaka-save ng 20 percent sa household food expense kung siya ay magtatanim ng sarili niyang source ng gulay pang-araw-araw, so malaking savings ito para sa mga household,” Macasaet added.

She said that the harvested agricultural products within the urban garden of the city also benefit the workers and employees maintaining the garden because it became a food source for them during the ECQ.

Macasaet said when residents in Puerto Princesa set up their own home gardens during the ECQ, the idea of doing it supported their demand for lowland vegetables.

“Institutionalized na siya (urban gardening), ang kulang na lang sa atin ay ‘yong mas marami pa na magtatanim kasi siyempre yong time before the ECQ, para madaling kumita ng pera, madaling bumili. Pero ngayong time na medyo maraming tumigil sa trabaho, maganda rin na magtanim sila para ito na rin ang source ng income nila,” she said.

To also ensure the food security of the city, Macasaet said that there are ongoing farm tractor services in every cluster barangays that supports the continuous planting and land preparation services.

Meanwhile, Binasahan said that the inbred and hybrid rice seeds of the Rice Resiliency Program, also under the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant, is now at the Manila port and will be transported to Palawan anytime. The rice resiliency program aims to boost the country’s rice sufficiency.

“Ngayon ay nasa pier na ng Manila at hinihintay na lang ang shipment or schedule ng shipping companies na papunta dito sa lalawigan ng Palawan, particularly dito sa Puerto Princesa,” he said.