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Philippines: Partnership for aquaponics tech and center for urban agri

The Department of Agriculture (DA) of the Philippines and the Quezon City Local Government Unit (LGU) forged a new partnership to promote urban aquaculture and the use of aquaponics technology on October 7, 2020 at the Quezon City Hall.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Mayor Joy Belmonte also discussed the establishment of the National Urban Agriculture Research and Learning Center to be hosted by the Quezon City LGU, which also hosts the DA Central Office and several of its bureaus and attached agencies.

“This is a continuing engagement and partnership that we have with Quezon City. This will enhance the introduction of more technologies into urban agriculture and aquaculture,” Secretary Dar said.

He added that while the country has enough food supply, the problems on hunger and malnutrition due to poverty should also be managed through the availability of affordable and accessible food. Thus, the national government agencies and LGUs need to work together.

Secretary Dar also requested the help of the Quezon City LGU to look for an area with vacant spaces such as the University of the Philippines in Diliman to serve as the National Urban Agriculture Research and Learning Center.

The center will showcase technologies in urban agriculture and aquaculture to serve as model for LGUs. In response, Mayor Belmonte suggested that the Quezon City University could host the urban agriculture center.

“They can have an urban agriculture department or course in the Quezon City University,” she said.

She added that there are still many vacant spaces in the city and she is confident that many partners are willing to lend their properties as learning sites for urban agriculture.

“I think we can address everything if we work together hand in hand towards the same end,” Mayor Belmonte said in relation to the challenges brought about by the African Swine Fever (ASF) and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Technology Demonstration on Community Urban Aquaculture Memorandum of Agreement between DA, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and the Quezon City LGU will initially benefit the ASF-affected hog raisers in Barangay Payatas and Barangay Bagong Silangan.

Through this new partnership, BFAR will provide initial agricultural inputs such as vegetable seeds, tilapia or hito fingerlings, feeds, aquaponics structure, and technical assistance as part of the starter kits.

The LGU, on the other hand, will help identify the project site, provide logistics support, and promote urban aquaculture with emphasis on the aquaponics system.

In April 2020, DA and the Quezon City LGU started a partnership to address the stability of food supply, alleviate poverty, foster social integration, and protect the environment through eco-friendly methods and alternative and innovative gardening methods.

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