DA, ATI Jumpstart Urban Agri Project in Marikina

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Families supported by the St. Maria De Mattias Center participate in a farm planning session. (photo by Lian Janellle Valencia)

MARIKINA CITY, Metro Manila – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) are further strengthening efforts in ensuring food security and poverty alleviation in the urban areas.

Following the series of street caravans on urban agriculture this year, the DA and ATI, together with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), are kickstarting yet another project called ‘Urban Agriculture Pagkain Para sa Masa’. Their first stop is the St. Maria De Mattias Center Day-time Socio-educational Center in Marikina.

Representatives from the Office of DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns Ranibai Dilangalen and ATI Partnerships and Accreditation Division visited the area to give free orientation and demonstration on urban farming. Start-up planting kits from BPI were also distributed to the 20 participating clients of St. Maria De Mattias Center. The kits included gardening tools and vegetable seedlings such as squash, bottle gourd, string beans, winged beans, pechay, and hot pepper.

The participating clients are mostly mothers of the children supported by the center, a charity organization that helps “orphaned, abandoned, neglected, deaf, and very poor children” through residential care, medical care, counselling, values formation, education, among others.

“We have been dreaming of this kind of project for our clientele for a long time now. We are very grateful that it is finally coming true,” said Sr. Maria Grazia D’Amato, ASC, who serves as the center’s director.

ATI officers present at the event talked about the feasibility of the project as it requires little space and can also create livelihood opportunities to the participating families.

The orientation at St. Maria De Mattias Center was conducted on October 12, following the street caravan held for the group last May 25, 2017.

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