NGO Kids Who Farm lure youth into agriculture using hydroponics

NONGOVERNMENT organization Kids Who Farm (KWH) has started luring the youth into agriculture using hydroponics technology which produces vegetables prolifically without requiring much pesticide and can grow "soil-less."

During a "Pista ng Pagkain at Kabataang Pinoy" festival held by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca), KWH founder Muneer Hinay said that households can significantly contribute to solving the Philippines' food security concern.

"I realized that even a small child can actually propose solutions to the pressing problems of food security," said Raaina Hinay.

That has been true for his family as his daughter Raaina jointly put up KWH's micro urban garden in her school, Catalina Vda de Jalon Memorial School in Barangay Tumbaga, Zamboanga City. Raaina was only 9 years old then — three years ago.

Now KWH not only has a joint urban farming project with Raaina's school, it has partnerships with a host of other institutions who have the like mind to entice the youth that agriculture is a profitable venture. As an incentive to kids, they are able to bring home and eat what they produce and also get a commensurate pay for their efforts.

Aside from its partnership with the Department of Education's "Gulayan sa Paaralan," KWH has a micro farming project with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD Region 9, iVolunteer and Google.)

It had urban farming lectures for Haven for the Children and Haven for Women facilities, Rotary Interact Clubs from different universities in Zamboanga, Isabela City Youth Organization, and the Special Forces Battalion in Basilan.

With its advocacy, it has so far trained more than 400 youths in urban farming.

Hinay, project manager for sustainable food systems at the World Wide Fund for Nature, believes his own home province should be food self-sufficient.