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DA to develop Iwahig for massive rice farming PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 20 April 2008

Aerial view of Iwahig / Photo: PRINCESA CITY, April 19 (PNA) -- To sustain the country’s food security, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will develop more than 3,000 hectares of agricultural land inside the vast Iwahig Prison Penal Farm (IPPF) for massive rice production.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap visited on Friday part of the 26,000 hectares occupied by the IPPF, located some 20 kilometers south of this city.

Yap was accompanied by New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines David Pine, Bureau of Corrections Director Oscar Calderon, Palawan Gov. Joel T. Reyes, Rep. Abraham Mitra, Mayor Edward Hagedorn, DA officials and local government officials during the tour at the sprawling Iwahig prison colony.

In an interview by Philippines News Agency, Yap said the 3,000 hectares could produce around 300,000 metric tons of rice at an average of five tons per hectare based on two harvests in a year.

The rice production of Iwahig could even supply 20 percent of Manila's consumption for almost four days.

Manila consumption is placed at 105,500 bags per day, while Palawan is consuming only 7,400 sacks per day.

To develop the 3,000 hectares into rice farming, the DA chief said it needs P150 million to improve its irrigation system, seedlings and other farm inputs, post-harvest facilities and other agricultural technologies.

”We also need financial support from other government agencies," he said.

Aside from Iwahig, the government will also develop other penal colonies such as the Sablayan, Abuyog and Davao into rice granaries.

Earlier, Bucor, Puerta Princesa City government and the DA forged an agreement to develop IPPF, being considered as “A Prison without a Wall”, into a rice-producing area.

Under the agreement, the city government will provide the logistical requirements and assistance in the propagation of seedlings while the DA will provide technical support. (PNA)


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