THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has vowed to help impoverished people, launching and pursuing a program it said would transform sleepy villlages into flourishing communities.
DAR Secretary John R. Castriciones, a lawyer and a member of Class 1994 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), said the agency’s “Buhay sa Gulay” program aims to promote farming in urban centers.
Under the program, the department and its partner local government unit (LGU) provide idle lands that beneficiaries can farm for free, according to Castriciones, a native of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya.
The top honcho of DAR said that aside from promoting urban farming, the multi-pronged “Buhay sa Gulay” program also aims to reduce poverty and eradicate hunger, notably in marginalized communities.
Likewise, the agency helps in the marketing and transportation of harvested crops to ensure that the produce will be sold at the proper price, said Castriciones.
In fact, the “Buhay sa Gulay” program is now a “toast of the nation,” according to the DAR secretary.
Castriciones said he is really impressed by the way the people embrace the urban vegetable gardening program in every town or city he has visited across the country.
Note that the Cabinet secretary has been travelling all over country as part of his mandate to distribute farmlands and provide farmer-beneficiaries their much-needed support services.
He also recalled the humble beginnings of the “Buhay sa Gulay” program, which started at an idle football field at the Saint John Bosco Parish in impoverished Tondo, Manila.
Castriciones said they were distributing food packs to poor families inside the premises of the parish church in Tondo, when he spotted the idle football field.
He said Fr. Gaudencio Carandang of the Saint John Bosco Parish readily agreed to turn the idle football field into a vegetable garden.
It’s certainly time to transform idle lands into vegetable gardens if we are to meet the food needs of the people as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to terrorize the people.