The Department of Agriculture through the Provincial Agricultural Technology Coordinating Office (DA-PATCO) Siquijor turned over farm tools, vegetable seedlings, and organic fertilizers to 50 public schools in the province of Siquijor recently.
The ceremonial turn-over was held at Larena Integrated School.
Each school received five sprinklers, five hand trowels, two sacks of organic fertilizers, and vegetable seeds – pechay, okra, and kangkong.
The interventions were given as support to the Gulayan sa Paralan project under the High Value Crops Development program.
Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer Gregolito Bunado, in his message, said there should be a balance between food and people, and schools play a vital role in shaping the minds of students.
He said students must be taught the value of food production and food security.
“As training ground for students, this program aims to teach students to love agriculture and its system,” said Bunado.
Congressman Jake Vincent Villa also sent a message during the turnover and thanked DA for its continued support in the province’s local food production.
“School gardens are a great way for children to learn about nutrition. This Gulayan sa Paaralan will support better nutrition of students and can incorporate lessons of healthy eating,” said the congressman in his message.
SIquijor Governor Zaldy Villa, through his representative retired Col. Enrique Belciña, also shared a message, saying the promotion of healthy food choices and sustainability in the locality is a top priority of his governance.
Schools, as home of future leaders, must teach students how to grow nutritious food and enhance food security.
“We are thankful to the Department of Agriculture for the continuous provisions of farm inputs,” said the governor.
Dr. Marina Salamanca, assistant schools division superintendent from the Division of Siquijor, expressed her message of thanks and appreciation to DA for the said program.
As they receive the interventions, she encouraged the schools to make use of the inputs and translate it to prosperous outputs.
“We have to work for it. It depends on you school heads. The real output is the things that we will produce, ultimately, to the health and nutrition of our school children," said Salamanca.
"We are very thankful. We can really vouch for you to use them and take good care of them and be sure none will be lost in the process," she added.
Also present during the turn-over ceremony were HVCDP Report Officer Evangeline Baroy from the Provincial Agriculture Office, Gulayan sa Paaralan Coordinator Raul Abapo of the Division of Siquijor, school heads, and other representatives from the Provincial Agriculture Office. (PR/Mary Jane Banglos, DA-PATCO Siquijor)