17 Rizal villages undergo scoping process

SEVENTEEN barangay (villages) in Rizal province have undergone a scoping activity to assess the current status, readiness and compliance of community gardens in line with the provisions of the Department of the Interior and Local Government Memorandum Circular on Halina't Magtanim ng Prutas at Gulay, also called the Hapag sa Barangay Project.

The scoping activity was conducted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) in collaboration with the Rizal provincial government through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.

Dr. Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA director, said the activity is part of the School Edible Landscaping for Entrepreneurship (SEL4E) Project being implemented by SEARCA, Rizal provincial government, and the Department of Education's Rizal Division Office.

SEL4E, a follow-up project to SEARCA's initiative, "A Participatory Action Research on School-and Community-based Food and Nutrition Program for Literacy, Poverty Reduction, and Sustainable Development," also known as the School-plus-Home Gardens Project or S+HGP, is spearheaded by the center's Research and Thought Leadership Department or RTLD.

"The SEL4E project aims to scale out its model through multistakeholder participation to enhance the nutrition and health of children and their families," said Gregorio.

The activity kicked off on July 19–20 and 25–27, 2023 with courtesy calls to the barangay captains who were informed of the project's objectives and interventions.

SEARCA facilitated scoping interviews with the villages of Bagumbayan and Malaya in Pililla town; Bagumbong, Lubo and Sipsipin in Jala-jala town; Cuyambay, Tandang Kutyo and Katipunan-Bayani (Kat-Bayani) in Tanay town; Santiago, Concepcion and San Juan in Baras town; Maybancal and San Guillermo in Morong town; Prinza and Dalig in Teresa town; Tuna and Balibago in Cardona town.

Gregorio said the project's implementation guide, training modules and relevant learning materials specifically tailored for home and community gardening will be crafted according to the needs of the communities in Rizal.

"To enhance the skills of the community in sustainable food production, several capacity-building activities will be conducted to improve food and nutrition security in the school and households," he said.

SEARCA, along with Synergy Group Operations Inc. (SGOI) and the Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. provided funds for the project's implementation.