ILOILO CITY – The Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas is a recipient of a PHP200 million smart greenhouse and capability-building project to encourage farmers, entrepreneurs, and investors to produce high-value vegetables.
The project established at the Western Visayas Agricultural Research Center in Barangay Buntatala, Jaro in this city is a grant from the Republic of Korea through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) Education Promotion and Information Services (EPIS) aimed to enhance the production competitiveness of small and mid-sized farmers.
“Malaking tulong sa atin ang project (This project is a big help) so that we can have more production with regard to vegetables and fruits using this facility,” said Secretary William Dar who led the inauguration of the project on Thursday.
Equipped with modern sensor and communications technologies, smart greenhouses automatically capture and deliver information 24/7 on the surroundings and crop.
By unlocking massive plant information, a smart greenhouse allows growers to minimize labor work, improve efficiency in resource and chemical use while optimizing yield rates.
The facility will enable growers to plant off-season crops leading to all-year-round production.
In a press conference, the Secretary said Western Visayas is one of the recipients of the project which is also being carried out in Tanay, Rizal; Baguio, and Bukidnon.
“Strategic locations are targeted to showcase these newer technologies. The greenhouse technology will lead to masaganang ani (more produce), mataas na kita (higher earnings),” he added.
DA Western Visayas Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter, in a separate interview, said the smart greenhouse has nine units with a controlled environment, temperature, and drip irrigation.
“It’s more on training activities. This is an opportunity to encourage individual farmers and other non-farmers but are interested to invest,” she said, adding that the region is not yet sufficient in terms of high-value vegetables.
In addition, there will be additional smart greenhouses to be constructed in the provinces by end of the year, especially in tourist areas, she added.
The inauguration was also joined by Dr. Park Eui Jeong, the Project Associate Expert in Performance Management of Hankyong University, EPIS President Dr. Lee Jong Soon, and Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Noel Reyes.
Dar also distributed some 64.58 million worth of facilities and vegetable seeds to their target farmers' associations, production support for sectors affected by Typhoon Odette, and financial assistance for target universities for the Rapid Appraisal of the Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension System (PAFES).
He also led the turnover of one set of the Carabao-based Enterprise Development (CBED) project from the Philippine Carabao Center to the Barotac Nuevo Development Cooperative, crop insurance claims of 21 farmers from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), catfish culture to their recipients from Barangay Barasan Oeste, Sta. Barbara and milkfish culture in Barangay San Carlos, Anilao from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), two Farmers Learning Site established in Buruanga, Aklan and Panit-an, Capiz by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and the dairy cattle and dairy goats to their recipients under the Central Iloilo Dairy Expansion Program of the National Dairy Authority. (PNA)