SEARCA conducts hydroponics farming demo for Laguna youth

SOME 44 young educators, students and out-of-school youth from different districts of Laguna province joined the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB)-based Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) to learn the basics of hydroponics farming.

The SEARCA-hosted Information and Demonstration Session on Hydroponics was part of the "Pook Luntian Sa Tahanan Ko" project of Gawad Laguna Inc. (GLI) held on November 27 via Zoom.

In partnership with SEARCA through the Young Forces for Agricultural Innovation or #Y4Agri and the NIU Greens Hydroponics, participants were pre-selected from a vlogging contest initiated by GLI to elicit their interest to venture into hydroponics as a modern way of growing food.

According to SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio, the session enabled the participants to learn the basics of hydroponics as a soilless farming method and eco-friendly solutions to mitigate the challenges of a small-scale hydroponic system.

Gregorio said this initiative which is also part of SEARCA's 55th anniversary celebration with the theme, "Sowing Seeds of Innovation for Agricultural Transformation," is to sow the seeds of innovation in modern farming such as hydroponics to transform agriculture and food systems.

It was the Laguna-based NIU Greens Hydroponics proprietors Floracoelli Masajo-Hernandez and Albretch Hernandez who facilitated the info-demo session.

SEARCA said the Hernandezes as farmer-entrepreneurs advocate to elevate farming as a profession and involve the youth through innovative farming methods.

It said NIU was also a finalist of the 2020 SEARCA Youth Covideo Contest where they featured their story on why and how they started venturing into hydroponics.

In his message, GLI President Ronel Vincent Vista, through GLI Vice President Lionell Aniciete, thanked the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organization-SEARCA for being one of its esteemed partners in this project.

His message also challenged all the youth of Laguna to always extend a hand to those in need and to use their hands not only for farming but also to reach out to those Filipino youth who are in need of help, love and support for the betterment of their province and of the country.

On November 24, SEARCA and GLI distributed the hydroponics kits to the selected recipients from Districts 3 and 4 of the province.

The SEARCA delegation was led by Dr. Romeo Labios, Technical Advisor for Partnerships, while the GLI delegation was headed by Aniciete.