For 21 years, the Philippine Rice Research Institute has been managing a 300-square meter irrigated rice garden at the Luneta Park, where an annual ceremonial manual harvesting is done to educate students and urban dwellers on the science and art of rice cultivation in an urban setting.
The ceremonial harvesting is part of the yearly celebration of the National Rice Awareness Month in November.
The rice garden continues to serve as a platform to demonstrate urban gardening by cultivating herbs, vegetables, and other plants that complement rice cultivation.
The rice garden aims to provide public education on the significance of rice in the lives of Filipinos and primarily targets the general public, with special focus on the youth and urban residents who typically have limited knowledge about rice farming.
For this year’s celebration, the ceremonial harvest has as partners the Bureau of Plant Industry, Agricultural Training Institute, Asia Rice Foundation, the National Parks Development Committee, the City government of Manila and Kiwanis International.
Participants for this year’s ceremonial harvesting at Luneta are 200 students, educators, partners, guests and members of the Kiwanis International.
Newly-appointed Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel has been invited as keynote speaker, along with Undersecretary for Rice Industry Development Leocadio Sebastian.
The rice garden was inaugurated in 2003 with a MOA signing among four government and private institutions for its operations and maintenance. The MOA was signed by then PhilRice Executive Director Sebastian, BPI Director Blo Umpar Adiong, National Parks Development Committee Executive Director Jaime Recio and Asia Rice Foundation chairman Dr. Emil Javier, former president of the UP System.
Under the MOA, PhilRice, DA-BPI, DOT-NPDC, and ARF set the following as the rice garden’s objectives:
- To increase awareness and appreciation on the importance of rice to the country’s culture, nourishment, and economy.
- To provide information on how rice is produced, or recent technological developments, and on the vital roles played by farmers and RDE (research, development, and extension) workers.
- To provide visitors with an enjoyable and enriching experience that they can share with their families and friends. (RDLC)