SOME 10–15% of the land area in cities could be converted for use as fruit and vegetable farms, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar made the estimate while discussing a model urban farm project run by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) at the end of National Farmers and Fisherfolk Month.

The DA is pushing urban agriculture as a possible strategy to relieve pressure on supply chains after major cities were cut off from the food-producing hinterland during the quarantine.

“Many people live in urban areas and about 10 to 15 percent of those areas have enough space that can be utilized for the production of vegetables and fruits,” Mr. Dar said.

The model farm features edible landscaping and sustainable cultivation strategies suited for maximizing limited land in urban areas.

The DA’s Urban Agriculture Project involves the distribution of garden starter kits by the ATI and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) as well as the extension of technical assistance by these agencies to households and communities.

“As of May 21, a total of 675,773 individuals/households and 62 local government units and institutions have received seed and planting materials from the project. More than two million individuals also participated in the training and advisories conducted by the ATI,” the DA said.

Mr. Dar also encouraged the public to raise poultry and livestock where allowed.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to bring the opportunity of urban agriculture to Metro Manila and other areas of the country with the basic objective of ensuring household food security,” Mr. Dar said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave