Pampanga’s First Floating Garden-A A +A
Thursday, July 12, 2012
IMAGINE being able to plant crops, rain or shine, without the threat of floodwater or drought. Imagine this possible even in perennially flooded areas like swamps and canals.
In a village in the City of San Fernando, villagers need not imagine -- because they live amidst this possibility using the latest farming technology.
Barangay Del Pilar has launched the first-ever floating garden in Pampanga using the technology of using water hyacinths as floating rafts for garden and vegetable cultivation.
Village chief Pandoy Policarpio said much of the methods they are now using employs technology learned from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). Currently, there are at least 200 floating gardens at the almost 2.3-hectare property of the barangay that is constantly flooded by water even during summer.
The floating gardens are an innovative farming solution that uses water hyacinth, which is collected to construct a raft and then covered with top soil and organic fertilizer.
The gardens are able to withstand flooding and can be planted with palay, vegetables and herbs.
“We are very thankful for the help of PhilRice and Pampanga Agricultural College. Now our residents here can avail of the produce of these gardens for free,” Policarpio said.
The floating garden sits on a 2.3-hectare property that includes a 330-square meter herbal garden. All produce of the garden are given to the people. The property, which was donated to the barangay, is managed by volunteers who also raise chickens and ducks that are also given to residents for free.
“People can come here and take vegetables they need for their meals. We give it to them for free. Indigents can take more but we teach them to be self sufficient and have their own gardens,” Policarpio said.
Policarpio added that they aim to improve the garden with the help of PhilRice. PhilRice is a government corporate entity attached to the national agriculture office, the Department of Agriculture that aims at developing high-yielding and cost–reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos. Recently, it has developed a rice variety that will survive even it is submerged underwater.
Policarpio said their garden can be a model for other barangays who would like to come up with a healthier project that would benefit their local communities.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 12, 2012.