City pursues Strawberry cultivation amid pandemic

The City government continues to pursue projects that will help gradually spur local economy amidst the “new normal” environment resulting from the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID19) pandemic that hit the entire country. 

Mayor Benjamin Magalong in a management committee meeting early this week directed the City Veterinary and Agriculture Office (CVAO) to finalize the proposal for the establishment of mini greenhouses for the cultivation of strawberry in Baguio. 

CVAO Head Dr. Brigit Piok said, initially, the City is eyeing the construction of six (6) units of growing houses at barangays Middle Rock Quarry, Loakan Apugan, Minesview, Lower Dagsian, Bakakeng Norte/Sur, and Slaughter Compound-Sto Nino that will serve as the strawberry production facility which CVAO will operate together with the Barangay Local Government Units. 

The project aims to improve the productivity of strawberry cultivation in the urban setting with the use of the vertical gardening and raised-bed technology under protected farming (greenhouse).

Piok said the greenhouse technology provides a favorable environment condition and protects plants from adverse climatic conditions such as strong wind, excessive rainfall, extreme temperature, insects, and diseases. The project also has a training component where the supplier will provide technical know-how and capability-building to growers, all the way until the transfer of technology to proponents. 

Two months after transplanting, strawberries are expected to bear fruits which will last up to 10 months. The facilities will also serve as a learning site on strawberry urban farming for urban dwellers especially for the youth, through the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) as the younger generation of farmers. 

At least 120 youth/individuals are expected to learn the technology and able to operate the project after the duration of the pilot implementation. 

The project is expected to yield a minimum of 7.2 MT of strawberries which will add to the annual production data of Baguio City and will address the City’s dependency of supply from neighboring municipalities. 

Mayor Magalong said considering that there is a big market for strawberries, with proper implementation this can be a lucrative income-generating project for the beneficiaries, help boost the promotion of agri-tourism in the City, and increase the volume of locally-produced fresh strawberries.

 The Mayor added that unlike other agricultural products that are sensitive and land intensive, this Japanese-technology based strawberry production only needs an area of 25 square meters. Private individuals or groups who have P200,000.00 to shelve-out and are interested to adopt the technology and set up their own greenhouse may get in touch with the CVAO. The mayor reminded the CVAO to ensure that the terms of reference are in order and transparent.—Hiyas Zambrano