Rice Garden at Luneta inaugurated
The unique garden aims "to bring to the attention of urban dwellers, particularly the young, the significance of rice to the country’s cultural heritage and way of life."
The garden was inaugurated recently, with the ceremony capped by the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) among four government and private institutions for its operation and maintenance.
Signatories to the MOA were the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice), represented by executive director Leocadio Sebastian; DA-Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), headed by director Blo Umpar Adiong; Department of Tourism-National Parks Development Committee (DOT-NPDC), led by executive director Jaime Recio; and Asia Rice Foundation (ARF), chaired by Dr. Emil Javier, former president of the University of the Philippines System.
Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr. led in the ceremonial planting at the rice garden. Among the guests were director General Ronald Cantrell of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Rep. Alfredo Marañon, chair of the House committee on food and agriculture.
From hereon, the ceremony will be done annually to kick off the year’s rice planting season, with the Agriculture Secretary and a school child from the metropolis doing the ceremonial planting. The President, also together with a school child, will do the harvesting chore at the end of the cropping season.
Under the MOA, PhilRice, DA-BPI, DOT-NPDC, and ARF set the following as the rice garden’s objectives:
The terraced rice garden now occupies a 300 square-meter area in the northwest corner of the Rizal Park, Phase 2, behind a restaurant opposite to the Manila Hotel.
It has been planted to hybrid, modern, and traditional rice varieties.
Visitors to the garden can also soon witness demonstrations or listen to the seminars on various rice-related topics.