By JAMES TABABA
The Metro Pacific Agro Ventures (MPAV) Inc., in partnership with the Israel-based company LR Group Ltd., launched the Metro Pacific Fresh Farm (MPFF), a 22-hectare property in San Rafael, Bulacan where modern greenhouses and agricultural facilities will be built. MPFF aims to modernize the Philippines’ vegetable production and have the largest vegetable greenhouse facility in the country.
During the groundbreaking ceremony on February 20, MPAV President and Chief Executive Office Jovy Hernandez said that the facility will be producing 1600 metric tons of vegetables annually. Seven hectares will be used to build greenhouses where one hectare will be allocated for hydroponics farming, seeding area, and nursery; six hectares will be dedicated to hot greenhouses with drip irrigation systems; while the remaining areas will be for the irrigation center, logistics warehouse, packing facility, water storage facility, and solar power plant.
The nutrient film technique and drip irrigation system that will be used in MPFF will effectively use less land water, pesticide, and fertilizer compared to other traditional farming methods. This modern farming facility will be five times higher in production and yield traditional farming. It utilizes soilless planting media to produce capsicum, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes all year round.
Metro Pacific Investment Corporation President and CEO Manny Pangilinan said, “The vision behind these investments is an agriculturally independent Philippines. We want to help build a nation that’s capable of feeding all of its people… We’ll make sure the prices are affordable and make sure we’re able to increase the supply of vegetables, especially for Metro Manila.”
The massive project aims to connect with surrounding communities who can benefit and learn from modern and sustainable farming techniques. It aims to help not only to have accessible good quality vegetables for Filipino homes but also to train local Filipino farmers advanced farming techniques, and to provide employment opportunities for surrounding communities. Moreover, through the partnership with the LR Group Ltd., MPAV aims to reduce the Philippines’ dependence on food imports because of high inflation rates and supply chain disruptions. MPAV envisions a food-secure and self-sufficient nation.
“It is time to take advantage of the available technology and leverage against the traditional bottlenecks that we have encountered in the past… This greenhouse project in Bulacan is only the first step in building a platform for a much larger advocacy. Metro Pacific Fresh Farm is but a part of a larger ecosystem that is set to fundamentally change how all Filipinos eat,“ Chief commercial officer of Metro Pacific Agro Ventures, Toby Gatchalian said. “We view this shift as multi-sectoral movement that involves not just the private sector, but the public sector, as well as the academe so we could continue to innovate and discover novel solutions.”
Photo courtesy of Metro Pacific Fresh Farms