There was a time when we were addicted to Farmville, that Facebook game where we tended a farm. Older generations may be familiar with Harvest Moon, a similar game played on the SNES, the Gameboy, and the Wii. But soon, today’s children will tend a real garden, thanks to a new government program that is being developed.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol is proposing to introduce basic gardening in all schools. He believes that “most Filipino children do not even know how to plant vegetables or even just basic gardening,” and that he will not allow a situation where “the future generation of this country would not even be able to know the difference between an eggplant and an okra or a chicken and a duck.”
The agriculture industry is not a popular choice of profession for the youth, who prefer to work in cities instead of farms.
On a Facebook post, he revealed that he recently met Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones and proposed his idea. He added that while a memorandum of agreement has not been signed, he asked the Director of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Dr. Vivencio Mamaril to prepare a program design.
Piñol’s plan is to implement a national school gardening program and to hold a search for the best school garden in the country.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Education (DepEd) will collaborate on the project. The DA will provide technicians, tools, and materials, while DepEd will make it a school activity.
For the search for the best school garden, Piñol is proposing a school districts level, followed by municipal, provincial, regional, then national. The winner will be given a Presidential Award, cash, and gardening tools.
The secretary added that he has already requested P20 million for the project, which he said is worth it.
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