MODEL AGRI FARMS BARED
The Province of Bataan in Central Luzon is leading the way towards a modern, market-driven, and industrialized Philippine agriculture sector through the “1Bataan Agriculture Innovation and Technology Center (AITC)” and the Department of Agriculture (DA) is supportive of this initiative.
In line with the AITC, 10 one-hectare farms were established in the different barangays of Dinalupihan. These model farms demonstrate the proof of concept of using modern technology such as drip fertigation and precision agriculture in growing high-value vegetables during the dry season after rice in the wet season.
“I am thrilled to have seen the progress of this rice – high-value crops diversification system evolving in the Municipality of Dinalupihan. We were here when the idea was being conceived in 2019 and now it has really started its journey, its development,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said after visiting two model farms in barangays Daang Bago and San Simon.
According to Dinalupihan Mayor Angela Garcia, the local government unit (LGU) will be replicating the project in at least 100 hectares of clustered small rice farms in Bataan during the dry season period of October 2021 to March 2022.
She said that more farmers are now interested to try the new technology and farming system after witnessing how it worked in the ten pilot sites.
“That’s the way it should be for new technologies to be properly introduced, tested, piloted and the learning and experience that we are getting from this important project will really lead and give Bataan the leadership in terms of crop diversification in this country,” Secretary Dar said.
As a way of supporting Bataan to be the leader towards modern and industrialized agriculture sector, the agri chief announced that the DA has allocated at least P943 million budget in terms of agricultural inputs and livelihood support projects for the province.
The 1Bataan AITC, a Public-Private Partnership between the Provincial Government of Bataan and Agrilever Israel, envisions to help small farm holders achieve prosperity, attract the youth in agriculture, and allow the youth to lead in innovation and excellence. It also aims to create stimulating and well-paid jobs for professionals in the region, attract investors into the value chain, and stimulate cost-effective funding while mitigating lenders’ risks.
“You are sowing the seeds for tomorrow. There is the new thinking and I hope that yes, we have a partner in the Province of Bataan that will bring all these key strategies into action,” Secretary Dar said after highlighting major key strategies of DA including farm clustering and consolidation, modernization, industrialization, and professionalization in the agriculture sector.
During the visit to the model farms, Secretary Dar was joined by other DA officials including Undersecretary for High-Value Crops and Rural Credit Evelyn Laviña, Central Luzon Regional Director Crispulo Bautista, and Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes. AgriNurture, Inc. (ANI) President and CEO Antonio Tiu, who is a partner of the DA’s Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita online market, also joined the activity and shared with the farmers how they can market their produce.
They were toured by Bataan Governor Albert Garcia, Mayor Garcia, and Agrilever Business Manager Aaron Samuel at the farms of Ricky Naguiat in Barangay Daang Bago and Wilfredo Lutap in Barangay San Simon.