DA inks deal with 3 firms for urban agriculture projects

Through Farmers’ Produce, various SM malls nationwide are selling local produce to help jumpstart the country’s agriculture and restaurant industry in a sustainable and socially responsible manner.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has signed partnerships with three private entities for the implementation of various urban agriculture projects.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar signed three memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Aboitiz Foundation Inc. and Pilmico Foods Corp., TriMerA Integrated Farm, and the SM Super Malls.

Dar said these entities share the same vision of the DA to produce sustainable food items for Filipinos.

Under the partnership with DA, TriMerA will identify an area suitable for rabbit production and train personnel who will also serve as trainors to other enthusiasts in the future. TriMera will sustain the operation of the project through the dissemination of new stocks from the project beneficiaries and will lead the marketing and distribution of the produce.

The DA, together with Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), and National Livestock Program (NLP) will provide starter kits, IEC materials and extension/education support in coordination with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).  They will also extend technical assistance to TriMerA to maintain and sustain the project, and conduct monitoring activities.

In October, the DA said it will support domestic rabbit production given its viability as a substitute for pork, which remains expensive due to the supply problems caused by a fatal hog disease.

The DA noted that rabbit meat can be a healthy alternative to pork, which has become more expensive due to the impact of African swine fever on the country’s hog industry.

In a separate agreement, SM Supermalls will take the lead in the establishment of a food garden, which aims to serve as source of safe, accessible, and affordable food to households and communities in the urban areas.

The garden will also provide additional income to project participants, who will undergo training and capacity enhancement from DA, through ATI.

DA-BPI, for its part, will provide starter kits for the establishment of urban gardens and peri-urban gardens, extend technical assistance, and conduct monitoring activities.

To address the social and economic needs of various stakeholders, DA, Aboitiz, and Pilmico will work together and set up livelihood projects by building urban and peri-urban gardens.

Under the agreement, Aboitiz and Pilmico will provide packages for egg and swine production, and aquaponics farming systems.

Meanwhile, the department said it will see to it that proper and relevant training is extended to beneficiaries, who will also be provided capability-enhancement orientation to ensure the success of the initiative.

Image credits: Contributed photo

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