Philippines: Solon files bill to promote urban agriculture and vertical farming

A party-list representative has filed a bill encouraging urban agriculture amid the continuing rise in the prices of food and basic commodities. AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert Lee filed House Bill No. 1297, or the “Instructional Gardens and Urban Agriculture Act of 2022,” which seeks to mandate the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to promote urban agriculture and vertical farming in the country’s urban areas and in areas where such farming methods are deemed suited.

“We need to explore urban agriculture and vertical farming in our efforts to address our country’s food security concerns. Community gardens in urban areas will help families cope with the rising prices of food and ensure that they have access to healthy, nutritious meals,”  Lee said.

Under the said measure, unused or abandoned government lots and buildings, as well as available land resources in state universities and colleges, will be used for growing crops or raising livestock, among others. Local government units will also be required to formulate a policy on the practice of urban agriculture and vertical farming in idle spaces and lands.

Meanwhile, the bill also taps the participation of students by integrating the Instructional Gardens program into the academic curriculum for elementary and secondary level students in both public and private schools.

“Now that students are finally back in school, we must also seriously consider imparting more life skills to them. The instructional gardens program will ensure that they are equipped with the proper knowledge to cultivate food amid increasingly limited space,” Lee said.

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