DA, Aboitiz team up for RE use in food production
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture and the Aboitiz Group will optimize the use of renewable energy in pushing for urban farming in a bid to boost food production in the country.

Aboitiz-led Weather Philippines Foundation Inc. has turned over 19 units of 30-watts solar panels to the DA to provide power to the water systems for vegetable production.

This is part of the government’s urban agriculture program, encouraging urban dwellers to pursue aquaponics, a technique where fish and vegetables grow in an integrated system.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the solar panels would be set-up at the DA-Bureau of Plant Industry urban gardens in Manila to generate electricity to sustain aquaponics.

“We are promoting in a big way renewable energy in agriculture as this is the key to level up food production in the future,” Dar said.

“The initiative would surely intensify our move towards sustainable, strong, and climate-resilient food production,” he said.

Founded in 2012 by the Aboitiz Foundation and UnionBank, Weather Philippines is a multisectoral initiative that aims to provide Filipinos with a premier weather sensing and forecasting system.

It seeks to provide local governments and communities with free, accurate, and localized weather information for a timely response to severe weather conditions.

Further, Dar encouraged other corporations to work with the department through partnerships involving primary production, secondary and tertiary processing through their corporate social responsibility, and agribusiness efforts.

“This will not only address food security and create income opportunities for our local farmers and fishers in the rural areas, but it will also fast-track the agri-industrialization movement for the country,” Dar said.

The DA has been mainstreaming initiatives for urban agriculture as part of its Plant Plant Plant program to address the food needs of residents living in the metropolis and augment available food supply.

One of which is aquaponics, a combination of the conventional aquaculture with hydroponics or cultivating plants in water in a symbiotic environment.

It is one of the government’s newest projects to ensure sustained food production in urban communities as the nation eases into the “new normal.”

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