About 70 inmates at the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) in Palawan province are expected to reap their first harvest in time for the holidays under a joint farming and rehabilitation initiative of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The pilot technology farms developed by the DA and the DOJ trained “Persons Deprived of Liberty” (PDLs) on advanced farming methods to produced high-value crops and contribute to the food security program of the government through the DA and Department of Justice (DOJ) Reformation Initiative for Sustainable Environment for Food Security or DAxDOJ RISE Project.
The 4.5-hectare demo farm in Iwahig is expected to yield 96.8 metric tons of rice, watermelon, melon, eggplant, tomatoes, red chili pepper, pole sitaw, cucumber, okra, squash, patola, ampalaya and sweet corn in December with an estimated gross income of P7.3 million. Planting season was from August to September 2023.
Proceeds from the farm will be used by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to expand its agricultural development activities using idle lands to support the government’s food security campaign.
The project is expected to help address various issues and meet key sustainable development goals like social inclusion, climate change adaptation and poverty alleviation.
Phase 1 is being implemented with private sector partners who share government’s vision for sustainable agriculture. They also support the inclusion of PDLs in the value chain as part of rehabilitative justice and make them rise again as they reintegrate back to mainstream society.
The second phase covering at least 500 hectares started with the training of 50 PDLs for cashew production. They will use 30 hectares of BuCor land for the project.
The DA banner programs committed assistance for the development of 25 hectares of land for corn production; 200 hectares for pasture; 200 hectares for cattle and goat; 40 hectares for rice; one hectare for agri-tourism; and 0.5 hectare for tilapia production.