Edible gardening helped 90 households in Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan (MIMAROPA) obtain a readily available source of food during the height of COVID-19 pandemic.This was through the recently completed project, “Edible Gardening for Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis,” funded and monitored by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
In a project terminal review, project leader, Dr. Maria Concepcion Mores, said that members of participating households were guided in establishing and maintaining their respective edible gardens through on-site demonstrations of production technologies and practices. They were equipped with knowledge and skills in growing food crops at home through training courses and provision of supplies and materials comprised of seeds, gardening tools, African night crawler worms, and other materials including printed information, education, and communication materials. They were also trained on vermicomposting and preparation of natural liquid fertilizers from plant juice/extracts. The project was able to assist them in putting up a vermicomposting facility.
Moreover, Dr. Mores reported that the participants harvested various vegetable crops (squash, eggplant, string beans, tomato, chili, bitter gourd, lady finger, pechay, cucumber, patola, raddish, kangkong, kalamismis, bell pepper, lettuce, baguio beans, spring onions, alugbati, kamote, and squash tops) from their edible gardens for their families’ consumption and for sharing with their neighbors and frontliners. Squash obtained the highest average yield at 9,838 kg per hectare for the whole project duration. Some of their harvests were also sold for extra income.
The project team drafted a policy recommendation on the mechanisms of support to household scale vegetable production for consideration of the local government units (LGUs) involved in the project.
Dr. Mores is a retired professor of Mindoro State University (MSU). The project was implemented in cooperation with MIMAROPA Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (MAARRDEC) member institutions, such as the Occidental Mindoro State College, Marinduque State College, Palawan State University, Romblon State University, Western Philippines University, selected MIMAROPA LGUs, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Training Institute-MIMAROPA, and DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office.
(Sarah Hazel Maranan-Balbieran, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Services)