Best school gardens named PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 06 June 2014 11:16

Below average grades and low I.Q are some of the many effects of malnutrition in children.

To fight malnutrition, the Department of Agriculture (DA) under its High Value Crops Development Program implemented the Agri-Pinoy Gulayan sa Paaralan Program. This is in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the National Nutrition Council (NNC).

This year, the DA conducted a competition for  best school gardens. A total of 30 public schools from all over Zamboanga Peninsula joined the contest. Elementary level has 18 entries and 12 for secondary.

Tawagan Norte Central School, Zamboanga Del Sur (elementary) and Sindangan National Agricultural School, Zamboanga Del Norte (secondary) were declared 2013-2014 Best School Garden. Second placers were Ubay Elementary School, Zamboanga Del Norte (elementary) and Simata National High School, Zamboanga Del Sur (secondary). And third placers were Danlugan Elementary School, Pagadian City (elementary) and Lourdes National High School, Pagadian City (secondary).

Winners received Rehabilitation of Organic/Biological Fertilizer Plant (1st prize), Nursery Maintenance (2nd prize) and Water Pump with Hose, Wheel Barrow and Plastic Drum (3rd prize) plus a plaque and a certificate of recognition.

Vegetable seeds, Platic drum (200L capacity), recipe book sponsored by NNC, and a certificate of recognition were also given to the 24 schools as consolation prizes.

During the awarding, Dr. Miriam A. Indin, Health and Nutrition Unit Head of the DepEd Region 9  thanked her agency and the DA for collaborating in the fight against malnutrition. “Today we are giving recognition to the best of the best. May this mark the beginning of our healthier tomorrow,” she said.

Schools Division Superintendent of Zamboanga Del Sur, Dr. Arturo B. Bayocot, said “This Gulayan sa Paaralan is a group work of DA and DepED. This awarding is just a bonus. We don’t need awards to put up a garden in our schools. This is just a transit motivation for us to move. We want to see a massive implementation of this program because we care for our children and all those nutritionally-challenged. May we do it not only for compliance. Always remember that a healthy mind, needs a healthy body.”

For his part, DA Assistant Regional Director for Operations, Dr. Dennis H. Palabrica shared how grateful and proud he is being a son of a retired farmer. As well, he read the message of Regional Director Constancio G. Alama where it says, “this is a venue where we could have a glimpse of our present situation in terms of our vegetable consumption and production in the country and come up with ideas to achieve our objectives. It is one of our objectives to promote vegetable gardening as a source of additional food and income aside from increasing the demand for vegetable to help increase the income of our local farmers. If this will be adopted, this will bring a remarkable change and help us achieve food security in the country. We must also engage in farming activities here in the city because agriculture is not just a rural activity. We can use our backyards in planting vegetables. May we learn from our winners and learn from their experiences as they help us in our efforts to increase vegetable consumption and production. Let the voice of the youth be heard.”

In response, Tawagan Norte Central School Principal, Haydee B. Cosicol said “I am proud to receive this award as Best School Garden. Even without this competition, our school is already implementing this school garden for the sake of our children.” Sindangan National Agricultural School Principal, Dr. George C. Templado said, “we are grateful of the support of DA and DepEd. This program convinced our students to value farming even more and encourages them to eat vegetables. We did not explain to them the competition alone but the lifetime effect of it to every individual. Thank you for recognizing our effort and for making us this year’s Best School Garden.”

In closing, DA Chief of Agricultural Extension Program Division, Edgardo B. Tabal said “your participation is a proof of your support in implementing government program. This shows that you are with us not just in fighting malnutrition but also inculcating in the minds of our youth the significance of agriculture. Continue what you have started and may we be forever united to achieve food sufficiency in our country”.

Evaluation team of this competition was composed of representatives from the DA Regionl Office, NNC, and DepEd - Health and Nutrition Unit IX.

Also present in the awarding were Engr. Joey Villanoza, Zamboanga Del Sur HVCDP Coordinator; Vicente Balingit, Agricultural Provincial Coordinator of Zamboanga Del Norte; Carlito Larubis, Agricultural Provincial Coordinator of Zamboanga Del Sur, Dr. Melinda Tangalin, Gulayan sa Paaralan Coordinator for Zamboanga Del Sur; Eduardo Gulang, Gulayan sa Paaralan Coordinator for Isabela City; and Annie Tenorio, City Agriculturist, Pagadian City. The  Awarding Ceremony was recently held at Hotel Guillermo, Pagadian City. — M. Daguro/DA9