DOST allots P36-M for food security programs

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

June 10, 2020, 6:44 pm

MANILA -- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has allotted more than PHP36 million for projects supportive of food security in preparation for post-Covid-19 recovery process, its chief said on Wednesday.

In an online interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said that as of June 8, there are already 27 approved projects under the agency's "GALING PCAARRD Kontra Covid-19" program, with investments amounting to PHP36.9 million for 2020.

"Most of these projects have a duration of June or July to December 2020 since these are what we call (the) Quick Response Projects in the regions. Four out of the 27 projects have a one year duration, and will be implemented until June or July 2021," he said.

Dela Peña said that 16 projects were approved last April 30, two last May 19, and nine on May 22.

"Practically, all (these) recently-approved projects would address component 3 of GALING PCAARRD, which is the 'Pagkain at Kabuhayan sa Pamayanan'. This component focuses on food production and livelihood to help improve availability or accessibility of food in the community, as well as provide means for livelihood," he said.

Component 2 or the “Lingkod Alalay sa Pamayanan”, on the other hand, entails food product distribution to affected communities and front-liners, Dela Peña said, adding that GALING PCAARRD's component 1 or “Teknolohiya-Kaalaman para sa Pamayanan” involves the sharing of technology and information through information, education and communication (IEC) materials through various platforms.

Dela Peña said the GALING PCAARRD Kontra Covid-19 initiatives cover almost all regions. However, Regions 5, 6, 7 and 10 have yet to submit proposals to be funded under the program.

"We are in coordination with our regional consortia in those regions with regard to developing proposals or projects that would qualify under the GALING PCAARRD Program," he said.

According to Dela Peña, the approved projects are 14 in Luzon worth PHP19.9 million, two projects in the Visayas worth PHP3.7 million, and 11 in Mindanao worth PHP13.2 million.

Through these projects, the DOST hopes to help at least 54 municipalities, 54 barangays, more than 6,700 households, and another 1,700 individuals, he said.

"We will also be helping schools, and other institutions or local government units, especially in science and technology (S&T)-based vegetable production," he added.

Dela Peña bared the breakdown as to how the PHP36.9 million would be spent.

About PHP20 million would be for the crops sector, wherein activities would include for S&T-based home, school, and community gardening; urban container gardening; production with value addition (such as product development for mushroom, protein-enriched food products); seedling/planting materials production and distribution; and edible landscaping.

For the livestock sector, PHP4.5 million was allocated for production, distribution of "Itik Pinas" eggs, and "Itik Pinas" production management training; private sector-led ZamPen native chicken production; and technical and economic feasibility of village-scale chicken egg and meat production.

At least PHP4 million was allotted for the forestry sector. This would be used for community-based bamboo shoot production and product development; community-based tablea production.

The aquatic sector was allocated with PHP2 million for catfish production in pond, and for ready-to-eat hygienically processed fish products.

The DOST also allotted PHP6 million for harnessing agriculture in Ifugao; enhancing production, distribution and marketing of food in Calabarzon; and care and guide for stability for Ata Manobo farmers in vulnerable farming communities.

"Project funds will be used for acquiring and distributing agricultural supplies and materials to beneficiaries, and in conducting skills enhancement activities to capacitate beneficiaries in various packages of technologies for food production as source of livelihood. IEC materials will also be provided to beneficiaries," Dela Peña said.

Launched last April 29, the GALING PCAARRD Kontra Covid-19 program aims to address concerns regarding sustainability of food supply while the country is battling the pandemic. (PNA)