Searca, ADB install $32,525 climate smart gardens
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - September 8, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), along with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has put up a $32,525 “climate smart” garden project that aims to improve food sufficiency and nutrition in the Philippines.

The project is being piloted in six schools in Laguna: Cabuyao Central School, Pedro Guevarra Memorial National High School, Labuin Elementary School, Crisanto Guysayko Memorial Elementary School, Majayjay Elementary School and San Andres Elementary School.

SEARCA director Gil Saguiguit Jr. said school gardens protect the environment, provide food needs of communities and instill skills on agriculture in the youth.

“School gardens serve as an alternative source of food and income for rural families to address the looming problems of rural poverty and hunger, which prevent access of many school children to quality education,” Saguiguit said.

The farming sites are equipped with climate smart facilities such as mini greenhouses.

In greenhouses, seedlings are protected from excessive heat of the sun or from strong winds. The greenhouse has its own rainwater collection system. Water is conserved and supplies irrigation needs for growth of plants.

SEARCA has pushed for inclusion of lessons in the program into the basic education curriculum of the Department of Education (DepEd) to institutionalize knowledge in the school system.

Preparation of lesson plans for Grades 4 and 7 is now in its finalization stage, it said.

To be integrated into the DepEd’s Science, Math, English, Home Economics, and Technology and Livelihood Entrepreneurship curriculum are nutrition, organic agriculture, and climate change concepts.

A teacher’s manual will be piloted under the project up to December 2016.

The malnourished children in six pilot sites are to be helped through increase in supply of nutrients-filled food and improvement of dietary habits. The garden produce will be used in the feeding program of DepEd, Saguiguit said.

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