Luscious watermelon among yield from Israel-farm tech application. Photo courtesy 1Bataan Agri-Inno-Tech Corp.
DINALUPIHAN, Bataan — More farmers from Bataan are being convinced of better benefits when applying Israeli-farm technology than in indulging on traditional farming, the 1Bataan Agri-Inno Tech Corp. (AITC) said Wednesday.
Architect Abigail Cruz Catapang, AITC administrator, said their pilot run in Dinalupihan town of the joint venture between Agrilever and the provincial government of Bataan started in 2020 under the public-private-partnership has been successful.
From 10 hectares at the beginning of the project in Dinalupihan, the area was expanded to 55 hectares with 35 in Dinalupihan, 16 in Balanga City and four in Morong town.
Catapang said the yield in tomato, chili, eggplant, watermelon and squash almost tripled and now okra, corn and some crop varieties from Israel are being introduced.
From traditional farming, the average harvest per hectare of tomatoes is 20 tons but when drip fertigation was applied, the yield was up to 60 tons, she said.
Drip fertigation is a method in which fertilizers are incorporated within the irrigation water by the drip system.
“In terms of productivity napatunayan natin na mas effective ang Israeli technology in terms of crop production,” Catapang noted.
She said that the AITC project was launched in Dinalupihan because of the vision of Mayor Maria Angela Garcia to turn the only landlocked town in the province into a model agropolis in Central Luzon.
It is a partnership between the provincial government with 49 percent share and Israeli company Agrilever at 51 percent. Farmers provide labor in more or less a hectare of land each as their contribution.
“Ang isa sa goal ng provincial government ay knowledge transfer na kung ano expertise ng Israel tungkol sa agronomies, sa agriculture ay makuha ng mga local farmers para maiba ang kultura ng farming sa Pilipinas,” Catapang said.
“Ang traditional farming sa Pilipinas halimbawa ay mangungutang ang magsasaka para sa binhi, abono at chemical na after ilang months ha-harvest sila. Magbabayad ng utang pero after noon ay uutang ulit sila. Ito ang nagiging cycle at nagiging process ng farming dito,” she added.
Catapang said the vision of Mayor Garcia and Gov. Albert Garcia is for farmers to be sustainable and no need to borrow at high rates of interest for their farm needs.
“Sa project na ito dahil okay na naman ang production ng magsasaka, may support naman for marketing dahil may tie-up kami with supermarkets like SM, Waltermart, Puregold and other online stores in Metro Manila,” the lady architect said.
Catapang also announced that the Land Bank of the Philippines has approved a total loan of P55 million for 55 farmers under the program in addition to P15M grant from the provincial government.
The loan is payable in five years at two percent interest.
“Ang target namin ay farmer na lang ang mamamahala ng production sa kanyang farm at nasa likod na lang kami upang magbigay ng payo,” Catapang said.