The Department of Agriculture (DA) will establish the first Agri-industrial Business Corridor (ABC) for freshwater aquaculture and urban farming in Taguig, in partnership with the city government and Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA).
Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano and LLDA General Manager Jaime Medina forged an agreement commencing the 10-year project, with an initial funding of P300 million under the Duterte administration’s Bayanihan 2.
“We are privileged to partner with the LLDA and City of Taguig for this freshwater aquaculture park and urban farming project that will provide Metro Manila consumers with adequate and reasonably-priced food, particularly bangus and tilapia, including mushrooms and vegetables,” Dar said during the project’s MOA signing and groundbreaking ceremony.
“It is the country’s second agri-industrial business corridor (ABC), following the first in New Clark City.”
“It is the country’s second agri-industrial business corridor (ABC), following the first in New Clark City, where the National Seed Technology Park will rise in partnership with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA),” the agriculture chief explained.
“We envision the Taguig ABC, along with the nearby Food Terminal Inc. (FTI), as part of the agri-industrial and food market hub that will serve the southeast quadrant of Metro Manila,” the agriculture head added.
Under the joint project, the LLDA will provide two hectares of land along C-6, where several facilities will be constructed, and an adjacent 15-hectare lakeshore area, where the aquaculture park will be developed and opened to cooperatives and private enterprises.
Four DA agencies are engaged in the Taguig project, namely the:
- Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), which will provide technical assistance and inputs, including bangus, tilapia, shrimp and ayungin fingerlings for the floating fish cages that will be installed at the 15-hectare aquaculture park. The cages will be maintained by the city fisherfolk and members of the City Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (CFARMC);
- Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA), that will construct a fish landing wharf or jetty, with warehouse and cold storage facility;
- Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), that will undertake a mushroom button production facility and an integrated commercial bamboo project; and the
- Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), that will put up a water hyacinth composting facility to support urban farming and a bamboo oxygen park to promote sustainable production and outdoor recreation.
The DA-BFAR will also establish a satellite office in the project site to provide technical assistance, conduct training, and help organize and cluster existing fisherfolk organizations.
The agency is also tasked to monitor and evaluate the project, provide technical support in the zoning delineation and demarcation of the aquaculture park, and conduct regular water quality assessments.
Dar also suggested the establishment of a fish and food market near the Taguig ABC, where fisherfolk could directly sell their harvest to institutional buyers and consumers.
Once the facilities are completed, the Taguig City government will manage and maintain the agro-industrial hub, and ensure its sustainable operation for the 10-year duration of the project.
It will provide necessary funding, equipment, and manpower for the development of the access road from the highway to the site.
It will also construct three facilities in the area, particularly the agriculture, lake and river management, and environment and natural resources offices.
“For this project, we have to do a balancing act.”
“While we maintain a sustainable environment in the Laguna Lake, this Taguig agri-industrial hub could provide part of the food requirements of Metro Manila. Hence, for this project, we have to do a balancing act. We need to produce enough food and see to it that fishing cages must be properly laid out so these will not contribute to the pollution of the lake,” he said.
Dar urged the LLDA, all Laguna Lake local government units, the private sector, and concerned national agencies, including the DA, to craft a synchronized plan for Laguna de Bay with the long-term vision of protecting it and at the same time conserving it to sustainably produce enough food for Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon.
For his part, Cayetano affirmed their full support and commitment to pursue and complete the project, as it complements the long-term goals of the city of sustainability and improved quality of life for their constituents, particularly farmers and fishers.
Also present during the Taguig ABC MOA signing and groundbreaking ceremony were Taguig Representatives Alan Peter and Laarni Cayetano, DA Undersecretary for Fisheries and Agri-industrialization Cheryl Marie Natividad Caballero, Taguig City local officials, leaders of farmers’ and fishers’ groups, and DA officials.