The Leyte provincial government will launch a hydroponics farming project to help farmers maximize limited space in cultivating high-value crops.
Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla said on Tuesday compared with traditional gardening, hydroponics is a concept that uses less soil, less space, less water, with a growth rate of 30-50 percent faster.
The initiative is in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology, Ateneo de Manila University, Arizona State University, and the Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU).
Because hydroponics also uses less soil, it gets rid of soil-borne pests and diseases that normally affect the growth of plants, according to the governor.
“The good thing about this project is we are using container vans. During natural calamities and disasters like typhoon, we can transfer the vans to safer place where the typhoon will not directly hit,” Petilla said.
Two container vans will be used in the pilot testing of hydroponics farming where one will be set up inside the EVSU-main campus while the other one is at the La Granja De Reyna farm, a local government farming program beneficiary in this city.
“Initially, they will try growing lettuce, then eventually they will try other crops like tomatoes and bell pepper,” Petilla said.
Other plants that can be grown using hydroponics include butter crunch, spinach, basil, mint, strawberries, cucumber, and marigold flowers.
The governor said that they are eyeing to launch the project before the end of 2020 once the construction of the hydroponic systems inside the container vans is completed.
“Our main goal here is to have agricultural resiliency for our farmers’ livelihood. Even a strong typhoon hits our province, our farmers will immediately resume farming because their crops are protected. They can plant their crops whole year-round,” he said.
If the result of the pilot testing is successful and viable, then this can be replicated by other farmers in Leyte especially the organizations who are beneficiaries of the More Income in the Countryside Project of the provincial government, according to Petilla. (PNA)