The Department of Agriculture (DA) will establish the first Agri-industrial Business Corridor (ABC) for freshwater aquaculture and urban farming in Taguig, in partnership with the city government and Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA).
Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano and LLDA General Manager Jaime Medina forged an agreement, on July 20, 2021, commencing the 10-year project, with an initial funding of PHP 300 million (USD 5.9 million) under the Bayanihan Act 2.
Under the joint project, the LLDA will provide two hectares of land along C-6, where several facilities will be constructed, and an adjacent 15-hectare lakeshore area, where the aquaculture park will be developed and opened to cooperatives and private enterprises.
Four DA agencies are engaged in the Taguig project, namely the:
- Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), which will provide technical assistance and inputs, including bangus, tilapia, shrimp and ayungin fingerlings for the floating fish cages that will be installed at the 15-hectare aquaculture park. The cages will be maintained by the city fisherfolk and members of the City Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (CFARMC);
- Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA), that will construct a fish landing wharf or jetty, with warehouse and cold storage facility;
- Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), that will undertake a mushroom button production facility and an integrated commercial bamboo project; and the
- Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), that will put up a water hyacinth composting facility to support urban farming and a bamboo oxygen park to promote sustainable production and outdoor recreation.
The DA-BFAR will also establish a satellite office in the project site to provide technical assistance, conduct training, and help organize and cluster existing fisherfolk organizations. The agency is also tasked to monitor and evaluate the project, provide technical support in the zoning delineation and demarcation of the aquaculture park, and conduct regular water quality assessments.
Once the facilities are completed, the Taguig City government will manage and maintain the agro-industrial hub and ensure its sustainable operation for the 10-year duration of the project. It will provide the necessary funding, equipment, and manpower for the development of the access road from the highway to the site. It will also construct three facilities in the area, particularly the agriculture, lake and river management, and environment and natural resources offices.
While this is the first ABC dedicated to freshwater aquaculture and urban farming, this is actually the second agri-industrial hub in the country. The first was the National Seed Technology Park (NSTP) located at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac. The development of NSTP was officially launched on July 9, 2021 by DA and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). The NSTP will be home to a seed laboratory, incubation hubs, a machinery shed, soil and water chemistry laboratory, and other support facilities. BCDA will then develop the second phase of NSTP, which would be dedicated to agribusiness developments, including downstream and upstream linkages in the agricultural value chains.
(Sources: Department of Agriculture; Business World; Manila Times; Manila Bulletin)