Corn planting makes for a good tourist draw in Iwahig prison
Listed agribusiness company AgriNurture Inc. (ANI) is set to enter into a joint venture with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop an agritourism site at the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan.
ANI President and CEO Antonio Tiu said in an interview with Inquirer the company was looking to spend between P50 and P100 million for the project, bulk of which would be used for the purchase of agricultural equipment and irrigation.
“Initially, corn would be the cash crop but we don’t like to limit ourselves to corn. Eventually, we could also plant high-value crops and provide additional income to the inmates,” he said.Tiu added that with not much plantation available in the country given the fragmented lands in Luzon while Davao has become saturated, Ihawig was the perfect location for the agritourism site. Iwahig, the BoC’s lone prison facility in Puerto Princesa, is famous for its open-air colony that offers a unique approach in reforming criminals through offering programs in agriculture.
“There’s also really a necessity to supply the sector with some additional opportunities for inmates,” Tiu said.
In a disclosure to the stock exchange Friday, the company said it has approved the “authority to negotiate and enter into a joint venture” with DOJ through the Bureau of Corrections (BoC) “for the development of at least 2,000 hectares of integrated agritourism corn plantation in Palawan.”
ANI’s decision to go into agritourism is also timely, given that early this year, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) said the country was on a par with other agritourism sites all over the world including Taiwan, Hawaii, Tuscany, Mallorca, California and Brazil. INQ
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