The Department of Agriculture (DA) together with the local government unit of San Mateo, Rizal province intends to develop at least 110 hectares of farm areas in the area to augment the supply of basic food items in Metro Manila.
Dubbed the “Food Basket for Metro Manila Project,” the program, with an initial budget of P2.5 million, would jump-start the cultivation of rice, fruits and vegetables in the typhoon-wracked province. The DA said this was to also provide a source of income to farmers who lost their livelihood due to Typhoon “Ulysses.”
The DA said it would supply seeds, implements, equipment and technical and marketing assistance to stakeholders in the area. The funding would come from the DA’s allocation under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Law.
The agency on Tuesday has already awarded P807,000 worth of agricultural inputs to stakeholders in San Mateo.
Eventually, the program would be expanded to other cities and municipalities in Rizal, including other provinces in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) region.
The goal is to start the project as soon as possible so the first harvest could be attained in time for the Christmas season.
“Because of the typhoons that visited our major production areas, we should plant short-gestation crops or those that may be harvested in one month or two months in suitable areas, so that we’ll have enough supply in Metro Manila especially by Christmas,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.Acting San Mateo Mayor Jose Rafael Diaz said they hoped the project would revive the interest of the people, especially the youth, in agriculture.
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