LGUs expected to lead gov’t’s urban agriculture push

The Local government units (LGUs) are expected to lead the way in terms of implementing the government’s urban agriculture push, which aims to encourage households to grow their own food.

“LGUs are in a strategic position to perform a catalytic role in promoting urban agriculture,” the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) said in a policy paper on policy imperatives to promote urban agriculture among local government units in the Philippines.

The policy paper is jointly authored by Rico C. Ancog and Glenn B. Gregorio of SEARCA and the University of the Philippines Los Baños, House Representative Arlene B. Arcillas, Erlinda C. Creencia of the Santa Rosa City Government, Victorino Aquitania of CLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability–Southeast Asia, Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) Assistant Director Gerald Glenn F. Panganiban, and Garry A. Hidalgo of Farm Factory and Rotary Club of Bay.

“It will be strategic for local government units to implement an Urban Agriculture Strategy to sustainably mainstream it in local governance,” the SEARCA policy paper authors stress.

Studies have shown that planning for urban agriculture tackles a combination of already existing urban issues in livelihood and income opportunities, food availability and accessibility, and, in many cases, conflicting land uses.

Gregorio said “the challenge of optimizing limited space, including high-risk areas, is addressed by the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of LGUs and, as such, it provides the most appropriate and likely the most effective platform to mainstream urban agriculture.”

The SEARCA paper points out the need for LGUs to pass an ordinance institutionalizing, developing, and promoting urban agriculture, including mainstreaming it in the CLUP and Local Climate Change Action Plan to ensure funding and support by the city or municipal council.