DINALUPIHAN, Bataan --Three big programs are set to be implemented here, the only landlocked town in the province, that will directly benefit more than 3,000 farmers.

Mayor Maria Angela Garcia said on Tuesday the programs will also have an impact on and improve the overall healthy lifestyle of more than 110,000 residents in 46 barangays.

She said Dinalupihan is more of an agricultural and not an industrial town so there is a need to raise the quality of life in agriculture.

“This is part of our vision of turning our town into a model 'agropolis' by 2020 or a community focused on agriculture, food, biodiversity and environment,” Garcia said.

The programs are the building of an Agro-Inotech Center, embarking on agri-tourism and the training of farmers with the help of SM Foundation.

The Agro-Inotech Center will be built under the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) scheme between the provincial government of Bataan and an Israeli company.  It will be equipped with satellites and modern gadgets to monitor pest problem, soil, climate, irrigation and other field-related concerns.  Under the PPP is the use of hydroponics to produce high-quality vegetables which will be ongoing this year, Garcia said. Farmers, she said, will not only be trained in production.

“I have already talked with big buyers to assure ready market for the produce,” she added.  Garcia said they will start in a one-hectare hydroponics system and four-hectare green farm with the use of drift irrigation. 

“Hopefully, we can produce 2.5 million lettuce heads so we can also contribute to the food sufficiency program of the Philippines,” she said. The second program, the mayor said, is farm or agri-tourism wherein Department of Tourism (DOT) regional director Carol Uy has recently committed to prioritize funding and to make Dinalupihan a pilot area. 

“We want our town to be a rural tourism attraction and hope to involve most of the 3,500 hectares of agricultural lands under the program,” Garcia said. There will be farm schools, areas for capacity-building and trained tour guides.

Source: PNA.gov.ph