The Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) is aiming to raise some P7 million from agricultural ventures within its premises by the end of December 2022.
Dr. Teddy Martin, chief of work and livelihood, said the penal prison utilizes its land areas located in different sub-colonies, particularly for the production of vegetables, unhusked rice or palay, fisheries, and livestock.
The total land area of the IPPF reaches over 26,000 hectares, comprising flora and fauna, rainforest, agricultural land, and prison reservation facilities. Under the administration of Supt. Joel Calvelo since 2021, the penal facility has utilized 48 hectares of land area out of 5,000 hectares intended for agriculture.
“Kaya kami nagpu-pursue din sa agriculture kasi mandated kami sa taas at sinusuportahan natin ang proyekto ng gobyerno na food security when it comes to palay. Dumating ‘yong ating catering dito, nahihirapan sila sa paghahanap ng materyales sa pagkain. Nakipag-usap sila sa amin at ang napagkasunduan ay kami sa BuCor at PDL, aming opisina, magpo-produce ng kanilang kailangan. Captured market ang aming target don,” he said.
The P7 million potential earnings of IPPF also include a memorandum of agreement for dredging activities to utilize aggregates from the damage of typhoon Odette in 2021.
The earnings will proceed to the Fund 284 of the penal prison, which is also the source for the share of PDLs involved in activities.
Despite the devastation caused by Typhoon Odette, the penal prison continued its fishing activities with the help of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). The flood destroyed P700,000 of potential harvests in the fish pond, palay farm, and livestock.
It also started again to plant the seeds given by the agriculture department to support the demands needed for the catering operation.
“Sa livestock namin, marami kaming nalunod na hayop. Unti-unti naman nakaka-recover kami, small animal tinamaan kami sa kambing, almost 20 ‘yong namatay namin karamihan pa buntis. May mga baka rin kaming nalunod sa Montible, Inagawan at Iwahig. Meron kaming tinamaan na more or less 25 hectares na palayan, Inagawan at Iwahig. Nasa P700,000 ang nawala sa amin,” he said.
Martin said the IPPF has reached 70 percent of the development in the agriculture industry inside its premises. The management also eyes establishing an Iwahig Farmers Association after tapping the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) for harvester, tractor, and drying facilities.
The prison also has trouble drying their rice because they don’t have drying facilities. This makes it hard for them to meet the moisture content requirements.
“Siguro ngayon nasa 70 percent pa lang kami ngayon. Hangga’t hindi namin nakikita– nag-open ka nga pero hindi naman kumita, we more rely sa income na madi-derive para sabihin natin na maging successful. Successful siya in a way ‘yong ating inmates, ngayon lang nangyari na maraming trainings,” he said.