Mayor Maria Angela Garcia said they are currently implementing the high value crops diversification and modernization program for clustered small rice farmers thru the 1Bataan Agricultural Innovation and Technology Center (1Bataan AITC).
“This project aims a fruitful harvest, generate higher income and improve lives of farmers as Dinalupihan aspires to be a model agropolis not only in the province but in Central Luzon as well,” the official said during Friday’s visit of Agriculture Secretary William Dar in one of the pilot farms of 1Bataan AITC.
1Bataan AITC is a public-private partnership between the provincial government and Israeli company Agrilever.
Planted crops in the 10 pilot farms include watermelon, chili, tomato and eggplant. They are expected to harvest by the end of February with a target yield of 40 tons.
Garcia hopes that there will be convergence of different agencies to replicate this model within this next drying season in October with a minimum roll out in 100 hectares of clusters of small rice farmers within Bataan.
She said the municipal government needs access to post harvest facilities, shared common services, world class trading post, farm to market roads, and drainage systems in order to complete the ecosystem of agriculture value chain.
For his part, Agrilever Israel Director Aharon Shmuel presented improvements of the pilot farms under 1Bataan AITC using modern technologies like drip irrigation and weather station predicting possible rainfalls and how helpful it is to the farmers, the province, as well as the market.
“From 10 pilot farms in Dinalupihan, we plan to expand more by reaching 1,000 farms using modern technology. We start small but we dream big,” he shared. (CLJD/CASB-PIA 3)
By Camille Anne S. Bartolome