Solon calls for passage of urban agriculture act

A lawmaker in the House of Representatives is pushing for the swift passage of the proposed Integrated Urban Agriculture Act toward a more food-secure country.

AGRI Partylist Rep. Orestes Salon made the call on Tuesday after the House Committee on Food Security consolidated four measures seeking to promote the use of urban agriculture in all urban areas in the Philippines.

Salon, principal author of one of the bills, stressed the need for Congress to lay down a policy platform to achieve food security considering that the Philippines ranked 79th in the 2017 Global Food Security Index released by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“The urgency of addressing our nation’s food security should guide us in our actions,” Salon said.

Salon said the proposed law could help improve the country’s food supply and could positively impact employment and income generation for urban settlers.

Under the bill, an Office of Urban Agriculture shall be established by the Department of Agriculture.

The said office shall be mandated to study and make recommendations regarding the impact of urban agriculture and vertical farming in metropolitan communities, and develop a research agenda on urban agriculture.

The places to be considered for use in urban agriculture include idle or abandoned government lots and buildings owned by the government, or available land within state colleges and universities.

Local government units will be required to formulate policies on the practice of urban agriculture and on utilizing urban and unused spaces and idle lands.

They shall also be required to enact local legislation institutionalizing urban agriculture as a regular component in the annual appropriations of the concerned LGUs. (PNA)