Student, out-of-school youth, and young educators from various districts of Laguna joined a virtual demonstration of hydroponics farming hosted by the Los Baños-based Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) last November 27.

The hydroponics demo was part of the Pook Luntian Sa Tahanan Ko project of Gawad Laguna, Inc. (GLI) in partnership with SEARCA, through the Young Forces for Agricultural Innovation (#Y4AGRI), and the NIU Greens Hydroponics.

Engr. Albretch Hernandez and Floracoelli Masajo-Hernandez of Laguna-based NIU Greens Hydroponics facilitated the info-demo session. This was NIU’s second engagement with SEARCA, having featured how and why they ventured into hydroponics in the 2020 SEARCA Youth COVIDeo Contest.

As farmer-entrepreneurs, the NIU proprietors advocate for involving the youth in agriculture through innovative farming methods and for farming to be considered a profession.

Prior to the virtual info-demo session, SEARCA and GLI distributed hydroponics kits to beneficiaries in Laguna Districts 3 and 4. The SEARCA and GLI teams who carried out the distribution were led by Dr. Romeo V. Labios, SEARCA Operations Consultant for Partnerships, and GLI Vice President Lionell Aniciete, respectively.

The hydroponics demo was also part of SEARCA’s 55th anniversary celebration themed “Sowing Seeds of Innovation for Agricultural Transformation.”

“As SEARCA commemorates this emerald milestone, we are sowing the seeds of innovation in modern farming such as hydroponics to transform agriculture and food systems,” SEARCA Director Glenn B. Gregorio told the participants who learned the basics of hydroponics as a soil-less farming method and eco-friendly solution.

In a message delivered by Aniciete, GLI President Ronel Vincent P. Vistal thanked SEARCA for being one of its partners in the project and called on all Lagunenses to “use our hands not only for farming but also to reach out to those Filipino youth who are in need of help, love, and support, for the betterment of our province and of our country.”