House panel passes “Integrated Urban Agriculture” bill

Here is a bill that seeks self-sufficiency and sustainability in food production

The House special committee on food security has approved a substitute bill seeking to promote agricultural development in Metro Manila and other urban areas nationwide to help in the country’s attainment of self-sufficiency and sustainability in food production and food security.

To be known as the “Integrated Urban Agriculture Act,” the unnumbered substitute bill seeks to cover all urban spaces such as idle, government or private lots or buildings, and available land resources in state or private universities and colleges suitable for growing crops and raising poultry, livestock and aquaculture.

The bill declares the attainment of self-sufficiency and sustainability in food production and food security as a primary State policies.

It further declares that the State shall endeavor to attain self-sufficiency in food production and climate-resilient communities in the metropolitan areas through the promotion of modern, appropriate, cost-effective, and environmentally safe agriculture technologies in order to ensure food security, promote a healthy citizenry, and advance and improve quality of life for urban dwellers that will ensure a healthy and sustainable environment, and food security in the country.

Under the bill, the owner of a building or land shall be granted a real property tax incentive and/or tax credit amounting to P10 for every square meter allotted to urban agriculture.

The bill likewise seeks the establishment of an Urban Agriculture Council of the Philippines (UACP), under the DA, which shall have the following powers and duties: (1) Formulate implementing guidelines, programs, and operating principles consistent with government policies and the objectives of the Integrated Urban Agriculture Act; (2) Study and make recommendations regarding the impact of urban agriculture, vertical farming, and measures to promote sustainable living communities; (3) Monitor and carry out the implementation of the Integrated Urban Agriculture Act; and (4) and Submit and report to Congress its findings and recommendations.

Photo courtesy of UNDP