This pandemic put everything on hold. But, there is a sector that thrives and put on a spotlight — agriculture.

No one can deny that the effect of Covid-19 has underscored the importance of food and the assurance of access to affordable and safe food.

When an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) took effect photos and videos of active citizens participating in the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Plant, Plant, Plant Program circulated online these past months, it caused to influence every Filipino to join the said project.

The Quirinian Youth-In Action (QYA), a non-government organization, situated in a small town of Quirino, Isabela, found themselves tilling small square spaces in Sto. Domingo Village.

Their initiative, Aking Gulayan sa Bakuran/Bukirin ay Iingatan at Aalagaan para sa Ginintuang Kinabukasan (AGBIAG) is heeding the call to DA’s program in beefing up food security.

“QYA conceptualized Project AGBIAG as an active and timely response during this time of Corona Virus Disease(COVID)-19 crisis as we shift from ECQ to “new normal” way of life,” said Jhonly R. Cacho, founder.

AGBIAG (an Iloco term which means to live) will encourage the citizens of the community, especially young individuals, to work on food production to attain food security, assist families in cultivating and producing fresh and organic crops, and provide alternative income generation for unemployed youth, and farmers said on a report sent to DA.

On May 28, 2020, another leg of the said DA’s Adopt a Barangay of PPPP launched to support the youth on their vision and mission actively.

“I thank the group of the youth, officials, and residents of Barangay Sto. Domingo and Quirino, as a whole, for accepting this program aim to ensure food security in our localities. Since we cannot implement this alone, we are soliciting the municipal government’s continued support for its sustainability,” said Regional Executive Director Narciso A. Edillo.

According to Cacho, expanding the seedbeds are a way of anticipating and providing sufficient space to allow the seedlings to grow. Also, establishing networks and linkages from the different government and non-government agencies, organizations, private sectors of the community, and other groups to strengthen connection and find support for its initial implementation.

“We will provide the technical and material inputs as you begin producing food right in your backyards and save money for your household needs,” Edillo added.

The populace, ages six (6) to 30 years old alike pro-actively adapt and embrace agriculture as part of their lives. ;

“Project AGBIAG has taught us to relive the value of cultivating own crops in our backyard. It is all true that we need to return to the basics of life,” one member uttered.

“Nu adda immulam ket adda met apitem.” (You reap what you sow.”)

Another comment said, “This has provided an avenue for my parents and me to have a bonding moment. We communicated with each other
as to what are the do’s and don’ts in planting.”

Among the many DA interventions to encourage the youths to venture into agriculture, going back to basic is the first step to inspire and empower them.