by Sheila Mae H. Toreno

ILOILO CITY – Village chieftain Willy Jamolo of Brgy. Tanza Bonifacio said that the vegetable seedlings, seeds, and garden materials they received from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Western Visayas will further intensify their 10-year old communal garden.

“We have been growing vegetables in a 500-square meter idle lot owned by the Iloilo Fishing Ports since 2010. And I am happy that the DA chose us as one of the beneficiaries of the urban garden project,” said Jamolo.

With DA’s intervention, more than 600 households in the barangay will have easier access to safe and organically-grown vegetables within their area.

He also urged other barangay leaders to put up their container garden despite the limited area in the city to sustain the daily food consumption of the residents.

On April 29, DA High Value Crops Development Program coordinator Jonifer Frades turned over 10 packs each of bottlegourd, sitao, lettuce and upland kangkong, several seedling trays of alogbati, okra, upland kangkong, cucumber, squash, okra, ampalaya, tomato, pechay, camote tops, bunching onion, and lemon grass, five sets of plastic crates, and 20 water sprinklers.

“Yesterday, we launched the ‘Adopt A Barangay Program’ in Brgy. Tanza Timawa Zone II and we will be having the same activity tomorrow in Brgy. Tanza Esperanza. We want to showcase the City of Iloilo as our model for urban agriculture program,” said Frades.

The DA HVCDP has earmarked P2.4 million to procure 600 kilograms of vegetable seeds for Western Visayas under the Ahon Lahat, Pagkain Sapat kontra COVID-19 Program. More available seeds will be ready for distribution soon, according to Frades. “We are giving out pakbet vegetables for cultivation which are easy to plant and manage. In 30-35 days, they can already harvest fresh vegetables right in their backyards,” he added.