Urban Agriculture: ATI’s Response to Food Hunger in Ilocos Region

ILOCOS NORTE - Health and food crisis are among the havoc caused by the corona virus since it started in 2020. In response to this, the Department of Agriculture (DA) introduced the Plant Plant Plant Program (4Ps) to ensure continued food production in rural and urban areas to enhance food security amidst the pandemic.

In support to the 4Ps program of DA, the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center I (ATI-RTC I), in collaboration with the DA-Ilocos Norte Research and Experiment Center (DA-INREC), and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) at Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), ventured on urban agriculture (UA) to capacitate residents in urban barangays of Batac City, Laoag City and Badoc in Ilocos Norte. Starter kits to include seeds, seedlings, carbonized rice hull (CRH), compost, vermicast, hand trowel, seedling bags, nylon twine and IEC materials were provided.

The UA project was launched on July 6, 2020 in Brgy. Barani, Batac City. It was graced by the heads of the collaborating agencies, City Agriculture Office, City Councils and Barangay Councils of the five (5) participating barangays namely: Barani, Caunayan, Acosta, Valdez and Callaguip. A whole-day seminar and distribution of starter kits were conducted in the said barangays on July 6-10, respectively. On the other hand, the second and third batches were held in Badoc on July 14-15, and Laoag City on July 20-21. A total of 631 urban families were benefited in the three (3) towns with 336 in Batac City, 144 in Badoc, and 113 in Laoag City.

Mr. Romeo P. Ganiron and Mr. Ramill Llanes of Romaine Organic Agriculture Academy of Batac City; Mr. Ricardo Sibucao of the City Agriculture Office of Batac; and Mr. Joear Badua of DA-INREC served as the resource speakers for the whole duration of the project. They discussed and demonstrated the Basics of Urban Gardening, Crop Establishment and Organic Fertilizers/Concoctions. These organic fertilizers include Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ), Fermented Fruit Juice (FFJ) and Fish Amino Acids (FAA).

“We are thankful for the added knowledge on Urban Gardening and Edible Landscaping. We really acquired new knowledge about it. We will definitely apply all the things that we have learned from this seminar and for sure we will disseminate this to our constituents,” Mr. Jogie Calapao, Barangay Captain of Barani, said as he expressed his sincere gratitude to the participating agencies.
Meanwhile, Hon. Maximo D. Cajigal, Municipal Mayor of Badoc, and a farmer himself, shared his experiences and practices in farming. “In farming or planting vegetables, you need to have passion and direction. It is not enough to start, but to sustain it until you see and experience the result of what you have started,” Mayor Cajigal added in his message during the opening program.

The UA project will be implemented next in Ilocos Sur this coming August to complete a total of 900 beneficiaries.

The Malakas Farm Success Story

This is the story of Malakas Farm, owned by husband and wife tandem Robert and Jessie Viloria of Brgy. Muraya, San Juan, Ilocos Sur.