The Provincial Government of Albay in partnership with the Department of Agriculture Bicol launched the Albay Based Food Production Program (AFBFPP) on March 8, 2017 at the Albay Astrodome this province. With the theme ”Mahal ko ang Pamilya ko, kaya Go Organic ako” ,the activity aimed to provide sustainable, healthy food for every family particularly in Albay through the establishment of organic vegetable gardens in every barangay and the creation of a pool of well-trained coordinators for bio Intensive gardening who will monitor the said organic gardens. A search for outstanding community vegetable garden will be conducted later.

Bound with the common purpose to support the government’s thrust of providing available, affordable and safe food for every Filipino, close to 1,000 participants composed of City/Municipal Agricultural officers, barangay captains and barangay officials, farmers and organic practitioners gathered at the astrodome to attend lectures on Organic Agriculture; Preparation of Organic Fertilizer (Vermi Composting); Preparation of Concoction; Cultural Management of Pechay, Sweet Potato & Pakbet and Urban/Container Gardening.

Adelina Losa, Chief Agribusiness and Marketing Division who represented Dr. Elena De los Santos, Regional Executive Director DA-5 delivered a message of support. She said that the realization of the project’s objective which is in line with the agency’s mandate depends on the implementers, key players and the farmers as well. She added that the Organic Agriculture Program be practiced as it will reduce pollution in the environment and prevent the depletion of our natural resources.

According to Al Francis Bichara, governor of Albay, the project is the first ever that will be implemented in his province. He enjoined every household not to focus only on rice farming but to embrace the concept of having its own vegetable garden and be innovative. He mentioned the one-stop shop farmers village located at Camalig Albay which is under development and on its way to reality. Green houses, orchards, processing centers, agri offices, veterinary and farm schools will rise on the 15 hectares vast land. Organic produce will be showcased during farmer’s day on week-ends. He added that negotiations are being made with the Philippine National Railways to allot a container for the transport of products to Manila “Let’s go back to basics” and “to see is to believe” he quipped.

Meanwhile Rosita Imperial, HVCDP coordinator said that this project is the answer to lower the incidence of malnutrition. Dreams to attain food sufficiency,” Sagot sa matagal na minimithi ng bawat Pilipino , pagkain sa bawat mesa at bawat pamilya” having food in every table for every family,

nobody will get hungry she said. She noted that the DA will be extending its full support in terms of Agricultural projects. She pushed on the promotion of the Pili Industry and other high value crops like cacao.

Other guests who graced the event were: Noel Rosal, mayor, Legaspi City, Adelina Losa, Chief, AMAD DA-RFO 5; Caridad Camba, ATI RTC 5; Ancie Lawenko, Nedita Balurio, DENR 5; Dr. Antonio Payonga, BU HERC; Rodulph F. Lita, DENR EMB 5; Rosalina Tan, Bicol Pili Board; Dr. Ramona Ines Raneses, President & chairman of the board-Human Resource Development Academy, Cagmanaba, Inc.; Engr. Macario Pavia, PPDO; Grace Tordilla, owner, Smart Farms & PhilPili Executive Director.

For its part, the DA through The High Value Crops Development Program headed by Rosita Imperial, HVCDP focal person DA-RFO-5, gave away 720 sets of garden tools with wheel burrows, 720 pockets vegetable seeds and 450,000 pcs camote cuttings for 720 barangays . A total of 700,000 households will benefit from the project. (Blesilda Nuñez)