THE Agriculture department and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) recently signed an agreement covering the development of the first agri-industrial zone at New Clark City in Tarlac.
In a statement on Sunday, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the project has been allocated initial funding of P285 million. It will be known as the New Clark City Agro-Industrial Business Corridor and National Seed Technology Park.
“We envision the seed technology park to be the core base for the country’s modern crop industry, one that will take us one step towards industrialization and modernization of the agriculture industry,” Mr. Dar said.
“The historic project, when properly planned, supported, and funded, would make it possible for the agriculture sector to unleash its potential as a major pillar of the Philippine economy,” he added.
BCDA President and CEO Vivencio B. Dizon said the agri-industrial project is targeted for completion by 2022.
“The agro-industrial business corridor is critical not just for Clark, but also for the entire country for agricultural sustainability and resiliency,” Mr. Dizon said.
According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), the agri-industrial zone will be located on 50 hectares at New Clark City.
The first phase of the project will be operated by the DA and will cover a seven-hectare portion of the property.
It will include the establishment of the seed technology park components such as the seed laboratory, incubation hubs, machinery shed, soil and water chemistry laboratory, and other support facilities.
Meanwhile, the project’s second phase will be developed by the BCDA and will cover the remaining 43 hectares of the site.
It will involve the commercial components for agribusiness activities such as downstream and upstream linkages in the agricultural value chain.
“The lessons of the pandemic singled out the agriculture sector as a driver of economic recovery. The sector will not only produce food and better incomes for farmers, it will also generate employment and spark entrepreneurship in the most sustainable and inclusive ways possible,” Mr. Dar said.
In July, the DA also evaluated Taguig City as another potential agri-industrial site, with its location near Laguna de Bay envisioned as a landing spot for produce grown in Rizal and Laguna, to the east and south of Metro Manila. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave