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Incoming DA chief eyes street dwellers for green house agri program

DAVAO CITY - The incoming Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA) will engage the street dwellers in highly-urbanize cities to do the green house agricultural farming to make them productive and push food sufficiency.

This will also be a step towards reducing poverty incidence of the country’s growing population.

MB File - Incoming Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, speaks before officials and employees of the Agriculture Department, at their main office along Eliptical Road in Quezon City. (Mark Balmores)

MB File – Incoming Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, speaks before officials and employees of the Agriculture Department, at their main office along Eliptical Road in Quezon City. (Mark Balmores)

But first, incoming DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol will embark on a nationwide feeding program through “Lugawan” which is anchored on the President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s principle: “No one must sleep hungry”.

Piñol said this could be a venue to develop a data base of people, who have become unproductive and stay only in the streets. These people especially their children are vulnerable to insecurity.

It may be recalled that Duterte as mayor of the city, has an ongoing Lugawan program at Rizal Park for street dwellers although some other people who cannot buy food go to the park to eat at sunrise and at sundown.

Piñol said this will be copied on national scale but the targeted people will have to be registered for data base. He however clarified the program does not promote “dole out principle”.

Piñol in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), targets July 6 to start the “Lugawan” in one of the public parks in Manila.

According to him, the data base will be used to identify and locate these people and train them for livelihood particularly on the agriculture innovative technology offered by an Israeli investor. This will make them productive and self-sufficient.

When asked about the possible areas, Pinol said the project does not require vast lands so it could be in any vacant lots nearer to the targeted beneficiaries.

Last year, the project was discussed with the mayor, who then offered one area in Mintal for one module of the agricultural Greenhouse with a size of 272 square meters as pilot area.

Piñol introduced to Duterte, Eyal Ben Ari, president of the Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry and owns GurLavi Corporation, which brings the Greenhouse Israeli Agro-Innovative Technology in the Philippines.

The Greenhouse Israeli Agro-Innovative Technology is a solution aimed at helping the country’s agricultural sector increase quality and quality of crops. Greenhouse is practiced by growers in different parts of the world and possible in all types of climatic conditions. He said it is widely practiced in Israel due to scarcity of water and land.

The company’s agronomist, Beatrice Cortez, said earlier that the intention is to help the agriculture industry of the country and other cities like Davao and other places in Mindanao. Cortez, a Filipina working for GurLavi said the green house and its technology model was set up in Tagaytay.

Greenhouse is a structure where plants, fruits, vegetables, flowers are grown. It attracts heat because the sun’s electromagnetic radiation warms the plants. It has climate control features such as computerized greenhouse, regulated light ad photosynthesis, controlled humidity and air circulation and ventilation.

Among the benefits of the greenhouse technology is income generation for farmers, land utilization, raising any crop, anywhere and anytime, produce high quality products and increased crop production by as much as 500 percent. It is equipped with an installation system where the operation is programmed as to light, humidity, temperature, irrigation and others.