Senator Has a Plan to Boost Urban Agriculture in the Philippines
SEN. Francis Pangilinan has urged the public to grow food in idle or abandoned government-owned lots and buildings to reduce urban poverty and ensure food security.
The senator has filed Senate Bill (SB) 257, or the “Urban Agriculture and Vertical Farming Act of 2019,” which also aims to address urban environment management.
“In our own homes, we can start with planting herb gardens, even if only in garden pots,” said Pangilinan, himself a vegetable farmer who started planting on a small vacant lot in front of his house in Laguna.
“Aside from the joy of savings in grocery bills, there’s also joy in harvesting and eating your own produce,” he added.
SB 257 mandates national and local governments to use idle or abandoned government lots and buildings, including land in state universities and colleges, for growing crops, raising livestock and producing food using methods in urban agriculture and vertical farming.
“Our cities will be cleaner, with fresher air, and more neighborly relations in the community,” the former presidential adviser on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization said.
The bill mandates the Department of Agriculture and Department of Science and Technology to support and launch research for state-of-the-art technologies on urban agriculture and vertical farming.
Aside from granting incentives to constituents who actively participate in urban farming, the bill requires local government units to formulate policy on the practice, particularly on the use of unused spaces and idle lands.
SB 257 also states that the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education should include urban agriculture and vertical farming in the curriculum of secondary and tertiary education in private and public schools.