The regional office of the Department of Agriculture is expanding the coverage of its Gulayan sa Paaralan Program (GPP) to 1,675 public schools in the Davao Region from about 100 in 2009.
Noel Provido, regional information officer of the agency, said of the number, 1,400 are elementary schools while 275 are high schools with an allotted P7 million for prizes.
Provido said there are sectors that are preoccupied in looking for capacitating students, but have forgotten the need to educate them on the importance of agriculture.
One of the main objectives of the GPP is to promote the importance of vegetable consumption among school children. By partnering with the Department of Education, the agency, through its High Value Crop Development Program (HVCDP), aims to support its school feeding programs.
The agency believes that students cannot function well in class with empty stomach which could lead to more school dropouts.
Under this program, HVCDP will provide farm inputs like vegetables seeds to schools for the establishment of school garden that would serve as the food basket or the number one source of food in sustaining the supplementary feeding program conducted by DepEd. Garden tools, nursery kits and GPP module booklets will also be provided for each school.
For the entire region, the agency already recognized six successful implementers of this program, three in Compostela Valley, two in Davao del Norte and one in Davao del Sur.