CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Councilor Philip Zafra is planning to propose an ordinance that would encourage agricultural development in the city.
Zafra said that the coronavirus pandemic has showed that Cebu City is not secured with its food supply, relying on imports from the province and other regions for commodities.
He also stated that the city has widely undeveloped lands in the 28 mountain barangays that can be converted into farmlands and agricultural spaces, which could be a big help with the supply of food in the city.
Even urban areas can become agricultural spaces through vertical farming and households can grow their own food, he added.
“Sa akong pagtan-aw dili paman gyod ni mahuman dayon atong kahimtang aning COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019). Panahon na nga mo-go back to basics ta, to farming, magbuhig kanding, poultry,” said Zafra.
(I think our COVID-19 situation will not end soon. It’s time we go back to basics, to farming, raising goats, poultry.)
The councilor has been checking the undeveloped lands in the mountain barangays and he realized that these could be useful to boost the agriculture sector of the city that has not been intensely developed since its industrialization.
Zafra is planning to draft an ordinance that would allow the city to provide tax amnesty to owners of lots that can be turned into agriculture use, or for those who would allow their lot to be used by farmers for agriculture.
“Nakigmeeting ko sa mga tawo ngadot sa bukid, akong gicheck naa paman gyoy supply sa tubig. Kung ato ni pangusgan, di na gyod ta maproblema sa pagkaon,” he said
(I met with people in the mountain barangays, I checked if they have sufficient water supply and they do. If we push for this, we will no longer have food shortage.)
Zafra is even eyeing some portions of the South Road Properties (SRP) for agriculture if the type of land allows for it.
The councilor said he will meet with more stakeholders to discuss how the ordinance should be formed. He plans to file the ordinance within the month so the city will be a step closure to food security. /bmjo