Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm

The Department of Agriculture announced on Wednesday that the first agriculture hub under the Reformation Initiative for Sustainable Environment for Food Security (RISE) project will be built on a 501-hectare plot of the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa City.

Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban of the agriculture department said the food staples to be grown on-site include rice, corn, cashews and assorted vegetables.

Aside from growing these crops, he noted that the project will also include a tilapia fishery and a dairy production area.

“The way to achieve food security and zero hunger in the Philippines is to modernize our farming tools and processes and boost agricultural production,” Panganiban said in a statement.

“RISE agri-hubs will serve as important incubators of agricultural innovation and progress towards achieving the priority agriculture objectives of the President,” he added.

On the other hand, another DA senior official sees the planned transformation of idle penal colony lands into productive agriculture hubs under the DA and DOJ’s (Department of Justice) RISE Project as a blueprint for achieving food security in the country.

“Through the DA X DOJ RISE Project, idle prison lands will soon be transformed into booming agriculture hubs with bustling vegetable farms, rice and corn fields, dairy pastures, fisheries, and agricultural support facilities,” said Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) director Gerald Glenn Panganiban.

“This project can serve as a blueprint for developing similar agri-hubs to feed communities across the Philippines. It is a model to achieve the ambitious goal of Zero Hunger set by the President,” he added.

Based on the tripartite memorandum of agreement recently signed by the DA, DOJ and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), one of the main objectives of the RISE Project is to develop land areas and resources into productive agricultural camps or food production centers to contribute to the country’s food security.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who serves concurrently as Secretary of Agriculture, witnessed the signing of the agreement held on July 13.

During his remarks at the event, the President underscored food security and “Zero Hunger” as twin policy priorities of his administration. (PNA)

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