South Korea grants P135 million for smart farming technology

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - December 7, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has received a P135 million grant from South Korea for smart farming technologies in a bid to boost local  farm production.

The Department of Agriculture recently launched two smart greenhouse projects in Iloilo and Bukidnon, funded through  South Korea’s official development assistance worth 3.15 billion  won or roughly P135 million.

The grant was funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) through the Korea Agency of Education, Promotion and Information Service in Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and will last until 2024.

The project will showcase modern sustainable vegetable technologies to encourage farmers in Western Visayas and Northern Mindanao to produce and earn more.

The ODA project will establish 11 smart greenhouses at the DA’s Northern Mindanao Agricultural Crops and Livestock Research Complex in Bukidnon, providing advanced and adaptive technological training for the propagation of strawberries, potatoes, and cherry tomatoes.

For Western Visayas, particularly at the DA’s Integrated Agricultural Research Center in Iloilo City, an additional 10 smart greenhouses will be put up and train farmers on modern production of mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.

Further, Korea’s MAFRA will dispatch Korean experts and farm consultants to train Filipino farmers, researchers, and supervising officers in the two regions.

The joint project entails enhancing vegetable value-adding, branding and distribution system, and exchange of research materials and other technical information.

It is an expansion of the pilot Korean smart greenhouses established at the DA’s Bureau of Plant Industry National Crop Research and Development Center in Baguio City, and at DA-Rizal Agricultural Research and Experiment Station in Tanay.

The Baguio and Tanay projects involved the propagation of cherry tomatoes and bell pepper, funded under the PPP-Korea International Cooperation Agency smart greenhouse project in the Philippines.

“This project from the Korean government forms part of the continuing efforts of the administration to modernize and industrialize the country’s agriculture and fishery sector, and attain food security,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

The DA continues to envision a shift from traditional to modern smart farming with more communities and millennials encouraged to set up and operate their own smart farms.

“I hope these smart greenhouse projects will pave the way for more collaborative undertaking between the Philippines and South Korea that would be of mutual benefit to our countries,” he said.

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