In partnership with the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) through the Extension Services Division and the College of Natural Resources, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) conducted a 2-day training on the establishment of a Community Seed Bank and Action Planning were held on February 19-20, 2024, at CBSUA, San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur.

The activity was organized under the project TOGETHER, meaning, uniting TOwards Gender Equality to enjoy women’s and girls’ Total Health and Rights, to provide participants with comprehensive knowledge and practical skills to set up and manage Community Seed banks and support the crop production efforts of the farming families, including the provision of seeds for their households’ kitchen gardens and nearby schools. The goal was to encourage collaborative planning, form technical support networks for long-term sustainability, and develop a comprehensive action plan for community seed bank establishment, considering community engagement and sustainability. This initiative prepares the participating community beneficiaries of the BANHI (BAyanihang pagbibiNHI sa Barangay o sa Paaralan) to ensure that this initiative will be successful and sustainable.

The training started with a lecture on agricultural biodiversity by Prof. Vladimir R. Foronda, the Director of the Extension Services Division. He emphasized the vital role of agrobiodiversity in ensuring food quality and sustainability of every household and community. He also highlighted that the project aims to support the project sites of ADRA Philippines in the establishment of “Kitchen gardening” at the household and school levels. He added that this training on the Community-based Seed bank of ADRA and CBSUA is also in support of the effort of DILG on “Halina’t Magtanim ng Prutas at Gulay (HAPAG) Project” that the barangay officials are expected to spearhead.

The training covered essential and specific topics such as Bio-intensive gardening, vermicomposting, nursery management, seed selection, storage, and sustainable agricultural practices. Other resource persons during the activity were Food Security Officer Jessa Mae Azarcon; Livelihood Officer and Team Leader of Food Security Livelihood Sector, Rolando Briones; High-Value Crops Development Program Report Officer, Kathrene Joyce Sabilala; CBSUA Faculty Experts from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dindy Deanne V. Orit, Marvi Mynell Cid, Jayryl D. Enano, Frenemel Torres, and Prof. Marilyn B. Balderas. The participants were from selected Barangay Officials, PTA Presidents, Farmer’s Organization Representatives, Youth, Women, IP Leaders, and MAO representatives from the Municipalities of Buhi, Ocampo, and Siruma.

The speakers emphasized the significance of preserving seeds and provided a comprehensive overview of the seed bank’s operations. Attendees also gained insight into various seed-saving methods and learned proper seed storage techniques. Additionally, the ADRA team led a productive action planning session focused on ways to encourage the use of traditional and heirloom seeds within the local community. | Report and Photos from Ms. Abigael Faller-Bobis & Mr. Froy B. Beraña


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