The Department of Agriculture (DA) has joined forces with the municipalities of Dinalupihan and Hermosa, and the Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU) for the implementation of the Zero Kilometer or “0 KM” food project.
Zero KM promotes healthy eating while minimizing the cost and environmental impact of transporting the products. It supports the use and consumption of locally grown fruits, vegetables, and other non-industrially produced food products that have not traveled far, or more literally that the food has traveled “zero kilometers” before being eaten.
On June 5, 2023, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed to ensure that the targets of the initiatives will be met.
Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban, during the MOA signing, stressed that the initiative forms part of the commitment of President Ferdinand R. Marcos towards a food-secure nation.
“Ang programang ito ay nagsimula sa ating Pangulo sa kanyang SONA (State of the Nation Address) kung saan sinabi niya na kinakailangan makumpleto ang value chain ng mga produktong ating inaangkat o binibili, pero di iyan nangyayari dahil sa maraming sagabal sa mga munisipyo papunta sa mga palengke, lalo na sa Metro Manila,” Sr. Usec. Panganiban said.
Along with Panganiban, the MOA was signed by Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Director and National Program Director of the High Value Crops and Development Program (HVCDP) and National Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Program Gerald Glenn F. Panganiban, Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) Assistant Director Joell H. Lales, Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extensions of DA-RFO III Dr. Eduardo L. Lapuz, Jr., Hermosa Mayor Antonio Joseph R. Inton, Dinalupihan Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture and Fishery Elizalde M. Torno, and BPSU Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Thelma Manansala.
Under the agreement, DA-BAR will provide funding for a research that will examine the factors influencing supply and demand in the two municipalities, including commodity prices and expenditure movements by identifying the major stakeholders in the market economy and analyzing consumer behavior.
“We, at DA-BAR, support studies and projects like this, because with the 0 km project, we are hitting three important goals: help promote income from local production, reduce marketing cost for increased income for producers and with less pollution from transporting goods, we save our environment – all these towards a healthier and food securer nation,” Lales said.
Meanwhile, Panganiban said that this is the outcome of the lessons learned from the difficulties that the HVCDP has previously faced. He also hoped that everyone will work together to make this project a success.
The DA established a National Technical Working Group under Special Order No. 437, which was approved in April 2023 and is chaired by Panganiban. By Kristel Joyce Merle