Davao City eyes Israeli greenhouse technology to spur food production

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/18 August) — The city government is planning to introduce a greenhouse model using Israeli technology to increase food production.

Speaking in Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City, former North Cotabato governor Manny Piñol, said Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wanted to replicate the technology, eyeing either Mintal or Calinan where the first unit that measures 272 square meters may be put up in two months’ time.

Piñol represented Duterte in a meeting with Israeli firm Gur Lavi Corp. president Eyal Ben Ari in Manila on Sunday.

He said the mayor would like to position the city as a major food production area in the country.

“During the chamber meeting in Marriott Hotel last Monday, I presented to Israelis the great ironies of the Philippines. We are blessed with fertile soil, blessed with favorable climate for agriculture. It is blessed with water, and yet importing products like onions and garlic,” he said.

Piñol added he is hoping local farmers would adopt the model in order to attain greater yield and better quality of agricultural produce.

The greenhouse technology is seen to produce more cash crops compared to traditional open field farming, he said.

Gur Lavi Corp. agronomist Beatriz Cortes said the greenhouse can control environmental factors such as ventilation, circulation, light, humidity, and temperature that affect the growth, productivity, and quality of the fresh produce.

The greenhouse is covered with shade nets made of aluminum to repel too much sunlight while trapping in enough heat to grow the crops, among other features, she explained.

“Our greenhouse is really applicable in the country. Its structures are made of galvanized steel, so it reduces the chances of rusting. Our greenhouse can be manual, electric, automated. But of course for standard green is just manual,” she said.

It also sports a drip irrigation system, an Israeli-innovated technology, that would save water and fertilizer use.

The 272-sq. m. unit will be the first of its kind in Mindanao and third in the Philippines after San Pablo, Laguna and Tagaytay. It has a project cost of P870,000.

A 1,000-sq. m. greenhouse using the Israeli technology can produce 25,000 kilos of tomatoes a year while farming the same size of land in the open can only produce 4,000 kilos.

Ben Ari said Israel, a nation that is covered mostly with desert, has become food sufficient for 68 years because of this technology.

“We want to teach how to feed the people with the best resources,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)