DA, GK launch ‘Bayan-Anihan’

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    SAN ISIDRO, Nueva Ecija — The “Bayan-Anihan” project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the private sector-led Gawad Kalinga (GK) movement was launched in Barangay Tabon here Saturday.

    The project, at two farm sites at the Nuestra Senora de Soledad Village, will benefit 62 families who are planting  kangkong,  eggplant, okra, ampalaya, sili and tomato in vegetable beds provided for them by Globe Telecom.

    This telecommunication company has committed to adopt 34 other similar farms under this project in different areas in the country.

    Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who led the soft-launching of the project here, said this food production program is expected to help 900,000 rural and urban households in supplementing their food requirement and raise their incomes.

    Besides vegetables, the food production project will also include root crops and fruit trees growing and production. An expansion of the DA’s “Gulayan program,” it gives priority to families in rain-fed areas and low-income provinces.

    “We plan to begin full implementation of this project before the onset of the wet season in May,” Yap said

    Also present during the launching of the project here were Mayor Sonia Lorenzo of this town, lawyer Joe Tale, chairman of GK; Tony Meloto, the advocate champion of GK; John Concepcion, president of Bayan-Anihan Foundation Inc.; Jeffrey Tarayao, community relations head of Globe Telecom; and Dr. Ruben Sevilleja, president of the Central Luzon  State University.

    Director Rene Rafael Espino of the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani-High-Value Commercial Crops (GMA-HVCC) said the ceremony here, dubbed the “Bayan-anihan SaBAYANg PagtaTANIM”,  kicked  off with a Goodbye “Gutom Rally” led by Meloto, followed by the Call to Plant by  Yap.

    Espino said the initial 115 sites have been set up in Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), MIMAROPA  (Mindoro Oriental and Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) and Bicol.

    He said a total of 500 sites is planned to be set up this year in different sites, of which 225 will be in GK sites and 275 in non-GK sites, while another 2,000 sites are targeted for 2010 and 2011.

    The GK, which is best known for building houses for the poor, has already partnered with other government agencies—among them the Departments of Education (DepEd) and of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC)—on its various programs, but this is the first time that it is officially teaming up with the DA in carrying out a food sufficiency program.


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