IN the midst of the Corona virus pandemic’s effect on the crop and food distribution especially in major cities and municipalities in the country, the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, has launched an urban agriculture project aimed at ensuring food availability and economic gains through alternative source of livelihood for Scouts in Metro Manila and other pilot areas where community quarantine is being implemented.
The Urban Agriculture Project (UAP) was conceptualized by the Department of Agriculture under the “Ahon Lahat, PagkainSapat Kontra sa COVID-19” or more commonly known as “ALPAS sa COVID-19.”
“In this time of uncertainty, we are mobilizing our Scouts, to pursue a mandate promoting and encouraging, through organization and cooperation with other agencies, their ability to do useful things for themselves and others as we train them in Scoutcraft and inculcate in them civic-consciousness and self-reliance, kindred virtues and moral values,” said BSP President Roberto M. Pagdanganan, who represented the BSP in signing the memorandum of agreement with the Department of Agriculture represented by Secretary William D. Dar recently.
He said the undertaking is one of BSP’s major contributions to R.A. 11469, otherwise known as “The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” signed into law last March 25 by President and concurrent BSP Chief Scout Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
Pagdanganan said the project is timely and relevant as gardening also encourages waste reduction. “It utilizes the use of recyclable containers such as pots and kitchen wastes as organic fertilizers. This way it will contribute to the global effort against pollution as it would not use chemicals in the actual planting of the crops,” he said.
BSP Secretary General Rogelio S. Villa Jr. said the project is open to all Scouts and Scout 1eaders who are interested in benefitting from the program which can be held at home, community, church, school, office, camp and other areas where gardening is possible. He said Scouts are also encouraged to take proper precautions against Covid-19 infection. “While we promote this project to any interested Scouts, we are also aware of the pandemic that may threaten the project, thus, proper precautions are being made to prevent them,” he said.
Under the program, the Department of agriculture shall provide agricultural needs including starter kits with seeds of common vegetable plants, soil and other gardening paraphernalia, lead the advocacy campaign, and provide technical assistance and materials and trainings to the participants. The BSP for its part shall provide areas for gardening, assign leaders who will manage the garden and identify professionals and volunteers who will be trained as trainers and sustain the project in pilot areas.