Bataan LGUs DA, BPSU launch Zero KM Food Project

June 14, 2023 Christian D. Supnad 413 views

IN their bid to boost the agriculture products in Bataan, the Department of Agriculture (DA) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with two local government units (LGUs) and the Bataan Peninsula State University for the Zero Kilometer (KM) Food Project.

The Zero KM Food Project was designed to develop and sustain the increasing food demand and supply in the municipalities of Hermosa and Dinalupihan and boost food production in their bid to sustain the local food production and consumption of locally produced but high-value crops and other agricultural products, Hermosa (Bataan) Mayor Jopet Inton pointed out.

Said Mayor Inton: “Ang proyektong ito ay isang malaking hakbang tungo sa ating hangarin na palakasin ang ating lokal na agrikultura at makamit ang kalidad at sapat na pagkain para sa ating mga mamamayan. Sa pamamagitan ng paglalagay ng zero-kilometro na konsepto, layunin nating mapalakas ang produksyon ng pagkain sa mga malalapit na komunidad at makatulong sa pagpapaunlad ng ating ekonomiya.”

For his part, DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said the initiative forms part of the commitment of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. towards a food-secure nation.

“This project was announced by our President in his (first) SONA (State of the Nation Address), where he said that it is necessary to complete the value chain of the products we import or buy, but that is not happening because of many obstacles in the municipalities going to the market, especially in Metro Manila,” Panganiban furthered.

Zero KM promotes healthy eating while minimizing the cost and environmental impact of transporting the products, supporting the use and consumption of locally grown fruits, vegetables, and other non-industrially produced food products that have not traveled far, or more literally, that the food has traveled “zero kilometers” before being eaten.

Under the agreement, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) will provide funding for research that will examine the factors influencing supply and demand in the two municipalities, including commodity prices and expenditure movements, by identifying the major stakeholders in the market economy and analyzing consumer behavior.

“We, at DA-BAR, support studies and projects like this; because with the 0 km project, we are hitting three important goals: help promote income from local production, reduce marketing costs for increased income for producers and with less pollution from transporting goods, we save our environment – all these towards a healthier and food securer nation,” BAR Assistant Director Joell  Lales said.

For his part, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Director and National Program Director of the High Value Crops and Development Program (HVCDP) and National Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Program Gerald Glenn Panganiban is “hopeful” that the partnership would bear more collaboration among government agencies to attain a common goal.

“This is the outcome of the lessons learned from the difficulties that the HVCDP has previously faced. I hope that everyone will work together to make this project a success,” he said.

Also present during the MOA signing were DA Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extensions Eduardo Lapuz Jr., Hermosa Mayor Inton, Dinalupihan Committee on Agriculture and Fishery Chairperson Elizalde Torno, and BPSU Vice President for Academic Affairs Thelma Manansala.