Arroyo wants aeroponics in agriculture to boost food security

MANILA-- Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is pushing for the development of aeroponic technology to boost the country's agricultural production and enable farming in urban areas.

Arroyo has filed House Bill No. 3977, otherwise known as the Aeroponics Technology in Agricultural Production Act of 2016, which seeks to promote the use of aeroponics technology to be applied in the production of high value-added crops and vegetable farming.

The bill aims to address the country's food security concerns and judiciously utilize scarce fertile land resources.

Aeroponics is the process of growing vegetation in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium. Aeroponics is considered to be safe and ecologically friendly for producing natural and healthy plants and crops.

Arroyo pointed out that the main ecological advantage of aeroponics is the conservation of water and energy, with growers claiming they can produce fresh local food in half the time as conventional growing with 90 percent less water and 90 percent less space.

One area where the State can devote more research and development is in the use of state-of-the-art technologies aimed at improving agricultural production and ensuring food security, Arroyo said in her explanatory note.

"Specifically, the adoption of aeroponics technology is widely perceived as an innovative measure to increase agricultural productivity," Arroyo added.

The Pampanga lawmaker said the aeroponics system is cost-effective because of reduced volume of solution input, less water, and fewer nutrients needed.

Under the bill, the Department of Agriculture is mandated to conduct a comprehensive research and information drive on aeroponics technology applied to agricultural production.

The bill provides that idle government lands shall be considered for growing crops and vegetables using aeroponics agriculture.

Furthermore, the use of aeroponic technology will be integrated into the curriculum of high school and college students in all courses related to Agriculture, Practical Arts and Home Economics, and subjects related to agriculture.

With aeroponics, the deleterious effects of seed stocks that are infected with pathogens can be minimized due to the separation of the plants and the lack shared growth matrix, she said.

"In addition, due to the enclosed, controlled environment, aeroponics can be an ideal growth system in which to grow seed stocks that are pathogen-free," she added.

Source: Philippines News Agency