By Alithea De Jesus
Cognizant of the looming food security which started during the pandemic and still continuing under the Russian unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, that affected supply chain, high cost of fuel and goods, among others.
Denso Philippines Corporation unveiled its newly-established hydroponic farm in Ibaan, Batangas in an inauguration ceremony recently (August 25, 2022).
The said project, which was registered with the Board of Investments (BOI), is part of the firm’s vision for a food secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers, contributing to environmental protection and balanced growth.
BOI earlier granted the application for registration to Denso Philippines Corporation as the new producer of high-value crops, particularly microgreens, kale, arugula, herbs, and melons.
The firm’s SMART Agriculture Project was greenlighted under “Agriculture, Fishery, and Forestry” of the 2022 Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP), with an estimated investment cost of Php60 million (USD 1.09 million). Coupled with its climate-resilient greenhouse building, the project will also employ integrated pest/disease management and vital in attaining food security in the country’s urban areas.
The project was endorsed by the Department of Agriculture (DA). The farm can help attain the Department’s goal of improving the country’s agriculture industry, contributing to the attainment of food security in urban areas across the country as well as securing a sufficient supply of fruits and vegetables.
The Denso’s ceremonial inauguration of the facility was led by Mr. Yuji Torii, President of Denso Philippines Corporation (DNPH); Mr. Naoto Inuzuka, President and CEO of Denso International Asia Thailand (DIAT); and Ms. Alleli Garcia, Chief Operating Officer of the DNPH.
Mr. Inuzuka congratulated all the people who made the project possible, which will apply technology that will innovate the country’s agriculture. While according to Mr. Cris Gonzales, the manager of the DNPH, the project is the commencement of more investments in innovative agricultural technology in the country.
“This is just the start. We are very open to this collaboration. With the Japanese technology, I am sure that the Philippines will be benefitting from this. We are hoping that we can sustain this collaboration,” Dir. Gerald Glenn Panganiban (Director of High Value Crops Development Program, OIC-Director of Bureau of Plant Industry) said.
The project’s target market are hotels, restaurants, online market (e-commerce), culinary schools, and other food-related businesses in Central Business District areas in the country.
The farm involves the commercial production of vegetables using hydroponic growing technology with plans to use IoT (internet of things) for nutrient dosing and monitoring through sensors. Hydroponics is a soil-less farming system that includes the process of growing plants with the use of mineral nutrient solution through an inert medium such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, expanded clay, or coconut husk.
Through hydroponics, water remains in the system and is reused, which, in turn, can decrease carbon footprint. In 2027, the global hydroponics market is projected to reach US$13.4 billion, increasing at a market growth of 19.2 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) during the forecast period of 2021 –2027.
Notably, Denso’s high-value crops will be essential in supporting urban areas in the Philippines, as well as address the low local self-sufficiency of highland vegetables (22 percent) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) forecasted deficit of 51,116 MT in Region IV-A, where the project will be located.