For the past three years, Dinalupihan Mayor Maria Angela S. Garcia has been preparing some youths in her town for a junior farmers program in line with her vision of making Dinalupihan as the “Modern Agropolis of Central Luzon by 2022.” She said during a recent interview that Pita High School, Sta Lucia High School and Pagalanggang High School have been serving as the learning hubs for future professional farmers. “Our school principals there and selected students (whose parents are farmers) have been conducting a four months engagement and learning about the basics of agriculture with our municipal agriculturist’s office,” Mayor Garcia said.
She added that some agriculture students from the State university have joined them in a recent trip to Israel with Senator Cynthia Villar for a PPP agriculture project in her town. “Nakakahinayang na yung mga natutunan nila doon (Israel) after nila maka-graduate wala sila sa agriculture industry kasi wala naman sila ma-applyan nung mga natutunan nila doon,” Garcia lamented.
The 3rd-termer lady mayor added that with the new technology in farming, what the young farmers or budding agriculturists will learn are more on high technology farming. “This will be more on precision or smart farming using the latest technologies in detecting the incoming rains, floods and pests thereby minimizing the risks or damages in their crops,” Garcia reiterated. Mayor Gila said her dream for her town is to cultivate all the idle lands into productive agricultural farms.
Dinalupihan has 2,800 rice farmlands which can also and possibly be utilized as high value crops farmlands. Recently, the provincial government led by Governor Abet Garcia forged a PPP deal with an Israeli proponent (Agrilever) for the development of modern farms using modern approach developed in Israel. The project will be managed by the joint venture company named 1Bataan Agri Inno-Tech Corp. “Dito po sa Dinalupihan ay may 10 model farms, bale tig-1 hectare each and will be using drip irrigation system and other modern innovations to grow high value crops like tomato, eggplant, chili, watermelon and onion,” Mayor Garcia said.
The said modern approach, Garcia added, will greatly increase the farmers’ yield from, for instance tomatoes with an average 10 metric tons harvest per hectare, into 50 to 58 metric tons. The project is scheduled to start on October this year for the infrastructure laying and the planting stage will be done in November. “Ang kagandahan po nito yung mga harvest nila meron nang ready market, meron nang bibili so kahit marami ang ani nasisiguro po natin na walang masasayang dahil meron nang bibili,” Mayor Gila assured.