CITY OF SAN FERNANDO - With the high prices of onions and other vegetables, many people are resorting to backyard gardening under the government's Gulayan Sa Barangay program.

In Nueva Ecija, the local government unit (LGU) of Talavera in the onion-producing province of Nueva is now conducting training in eight barangays for the launching of the innovative project "Sibuyas sa Paso" or onions in pots.

The program is expected to start in March this year.

"Sibuyas sa Paso" will encourage consumers to plant and grow onions in small spaces such as pots, and boost people's awareness of the importance of planting vegetables.

It may also help ease the high price of the agricultural staple which currently sells at around a farm gate price of P300 per kilogram.

The project, according to Vice Mayor Nerivi Santos-Martinez, is part of the flagship program "Gulayan sa Barangay, Paaralan at Bakuran Project," which she started when she was mayor in 2013.

"Starting in 2013, vegetable growing has become a lifestyle among the residents of the 53 villages of Talavera, who have been planting in every available lot and corner. If we are going to plant in every house, we would not be burdened even if the price is high," she said.

Mayor Nerito Santos, Jr. said the project is in response to the call of the government to support local farmers and make use of available spaces that will benefit consumers.

"There is no need for big portions of land because there is something that can be planted and harvested in pots especially now that the price of onion is too high,” Santos said.

The mayor and vice mayor, along with eight village officials, kicked-off "Sibuyas sa Paso" in greenhouses of the town.

The municipal agriculturist's office disclosed that some 500 hectares of land in the town are planted with onions but the harvest season will commence only in February.