March 4, 2024

The Department of the Interior and Local Government Cordillera is urging local government units in the region to strengthen their efforts in combating hunger, poverty, and malnutrition in line with the observance of World Food Day (WFD) 2023 last Oct. 16.

“Let us remember that our LGUs play a vital role in building awareness and taking concrete actions to ensure that water resources are effectively managed and that food security is improved, leaving no one in their communities behind,” said DILG Regional Director Araceli San Jose last Oct. 16.

She also called on LGUs to review and enhance local policies and regulations related to food security, water management, and sustainable agriculture and to advocate for the creation of policies that support these initiatives.

San Jose said through active participation in the World Food Day celebration and embracing its vital message, LGUs can bring about meaningful change in the lives of their constituents.

“We invite you to join us in this global movement to ensure that water resources are effectively managed, and food security is improved, leaving no one behind. Let’s continue to work together to build a world where no one goes to bed hungry, where every individual has access to safe, and nutritious food, and that your commitment to this cause will make a substantial impact to your localities,” she said.

San Jose added LGUs should ensure the formulation, or if existing, revision/updating of the local nutrition plan of action, to include and support the establishment and maintenance of community gardens which include both barangay and household gardens.

“Our LGUs should also include in their respective provincial development and physical framework plan or comprehensive development plan as well as in their annual investment plan applicable programs and activities to promote nutrition such as establishment and maintenance of barangay community gardens to ensure adequate funding for nutritional impact.”

She underscored the reorganization and strengthening of the local nutrition committees at the provincial, city and municipal levels through the enactment of an ordinance.

San Jose also added the establishment of community gardens is a proven strategy that can make a substantial impact on local food security and the well-being of community members.

The DILG earlier issued Memorandum Circular 2023-001 entitled “Implementation of the Halina’t Magtanim ng Prutas at Gulay (Hapag) sa Barangay Project” to serve as a strategy to diversify food sources and contribute to ensuring food security.

“We are urging our barangays to identify areas where they can establish their community gardens. It should have at least 20 square meters of land area or its equivalent in several patches of land. In establishing the community garden, the barangay shall identify which vegetable plants, herbal plants, and root crops they wish to grow. Also, barangays with suitable spaces are hereby encouraged to plant bamboo,” she added.

Barangays that do not have vacant areas shall implement alternative gardening such as container, vertical, square foot gardening, hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics.

“We are also encouraging our barangays to coordinate and request from their local governments or with private individuals who own vacant lots that can be used to establish the barangay community garden,” she said.

WFD is celebrated every Oct. 16 to commemorate the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945. The day serves as an occasion to raise awareness about global food security issues and to promote efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition.

WFD serves as a reminder of the need to work together to find solutions to global food and water challenges. It encourages governments, organizations, and individuals to take actions that promote sustainable agriculture, efficient water use, and equitable food distribution to help achieve a world with zero hunger. – Press release