Gov't plans 'rice gardens' in schools

By Rudy Fernandez, The Philippine Star

Posted at Dec 15 2012 09:21 AM | Updated as of Dec 17 2012 07:07 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) are planning to establish “rice gardens” in selected elementary and high schools in Metro Manila.

DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro introduced the project, tentatively called “Palayan sa Paaralan,” at a rice harvesting ceremony at the Rizal Park last Nov. 26, during which 39 students from various schools took part in harvesting rice at the park’s 300-square-meter rice garden. The ceremony was held as part of Rice Awareness Month.

Luistro said the project will be initiated in 2013, which has been proclaimed by President Aquino as the National Year of Rice. Officials said 2013 has also been set as the target year for the country to attain self-sufficiency in this commodity which the Philippines has been perennially importing to meet the food needs of its burgeoning population.

Rizal Park’s rice garden was set up in 2001 and is tended year-round by PhilRice. Officials sad the garden was conceived in response to the observation that “many Filipinos, especially city dwellers, grew old not knowing how rice is grown or, worse, (what) it looks like.”