TO address food insecurity at the household level amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, local government units (LGUs) are advised to make policies that will institutionalize backyard gardening and encourage the creation of more home gardens.
The National Nutrition Council (NNC) Region 7 said that maintaining home gardens is eyed as one of the measures to reduce food insecurity and address malnutrition in children.
NNC 7 said that LGUs have important roles in the planning and implementation of government policies and programs designed to address nutrition problems, such as backyard gardening at the household level.
NNC 7 cited as an example the town of Larena in Siquijor province where policymakers turned its backyard gardening resolution passed in 2006 into an ordinance in July 2020.
The following are the features of the municipal ordinance:
• It is titled “Gulayan sa Matag-panimalay.”
• All households in all 23 barangays of Larena town are required to create home gardens.
• It aims to revitalize food production and ensure the availability and affordability of food.
• A home garden is also a requisite for all residents wishing to get a barangay clearance.
• Households with vacant lots are obliged to set up a minimum of two plots measuring one by three meters.
• Families without space are required to maintain twenty containers of different types of vegetables.
• The Municipal Agriculture Office provides the seeds.
• Households will be randomly monitored “to effectively sustain the ordinance,” said Jorge Arcaya, municipal agriculture officer and nutrition action officer.
• The barangay monitoring team is composed of Barangay Nutrition Committee members. SB Chairman on Agriculture leads the municipal monitoring unit with representatives from different agencies and offices as members.
• Non-compliant households will be fined, depending on the degree of the offense.
• The collected amount will be accounted for and deposited to the Barangay Trust Fund to support, enhance, and sustain the implementation of the ordinance.
“I am hopeful that other LGUs in Siquijor and other provinces in Central Visayas will follow suit to ensure food security for their constituents, especially those vulnerable in this time of the pandemic,” said Dr. Parolita Mission, NNC 7 regional nutrition program coordinator.
According to NNC 7, “Gulayan sa Matag-panimalay” is aligned with Presidential Proclamation No. 922 that declares a state of public health emergency through the Philippines; Presidential Proclamation No. 929 that declares a state of calamity throughout the country due to Covid-19; Food Always in the Home program of the Department of Agriculture; and NNC Nutrition Cluster Advisory No. 02 Series of 2020. (NRC)