The Muntinlupa City government is promoting the use of hydroponics to encourage households and communities to engage in urban farming.
Through its Extension Services Office (ESO), the city government launched the “Gulayan sa Lungsod ng Muntinlupa” program and has partnered with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and University of the Philippines-Los Banos Institute of Plant Breeding (UPLB-IPB) for the training of communities on innovative farming technologies.
ESO acting chief Malou Lobo said the city aims to revive urban agriculture and urban farming as a response to augment food security amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The city government has partnered with DOST and UPLB-IPB for the conduct of SNAP Hydroponics Training, an innovative farming technology, in two pilot communities in Barangay Sucat. Hydroponics is growing plants in nutrient solution.
According to the IPB, SNAP means Simple Nutrient Addition Program for hydroponics, a “system that uses SNAP Nutrient Solution for Hydroponics.” To complete the system, it requires seedling plugs and grow boxes.
Lobo said the urban site in Doña Rosario Heights in Sucat serves as the city’s urban model farm while the farming site in Paradise Garden community is the city’s communal model farm which is being managed by 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) beneficiaries.
The DOST recently donated 200 SNAP Kit Solutions for Hydroponics to the local government and these were distributed to pilot communities.
The ESO is working with 12 homeowners’ associations, three cooperatives, and six youth organizations for the urban agriculture initiative. It holds regular urban farming site visitations, online training, and monitoring of communities to ensure the sustainability of the program.
As of October 2020, about 2,224 packs of vegetable seeds, 5,302 vegetable seedlings, and 118 liters of organic fertilizers were distributed to different communities through the Sustainable Nutrition Augmentation Program. The office also gives free seeds and seedlings to the public to further promote backyard farming. Residents and urban farmers need to register with the ESO Facebook Page fb.com/daeso.muntinlupa.
Recipients will be asked to coordinate and send documentation of their progress to ESO for monitoring.
The office also launched the Balitang Agri, a series of educational shows demonstrating proper ways of planting vegetable crops, as part of the department’s information campaign. Balitang Agri covers topics which include plant culture, soil groups, composting, agricultural marketing, among others.