THE Board of Investments (BoI) said it approved an application to register for incentives a project of Denso Philippines Corp. for a P60-million facility seeking to produce vegetables hydroponically in Ibaan, Batangas.

In a statement on Tuesday, the BoI said that Denso’s SMART Agriculture project will commence operations soon and will focus on the commercial production of microgreens, kale, arugula, herbs, and melons.

“The project’s target market will be hotels, restaurants, online markets, culinary schools, and other food-related businesses in central business district areas in the Philippines,” the BoI said.

The BoI said the hydroponic facility will tap Internet of Things technology to regulate nutrient dosing and monitoring, and will feature an integrated pest and disease management system and a climate-resilient greenhouse.

It added that the project, endorsed by the Department of Agriculture (DA), was in line with the objectives of the Agriculture, Fishery, and Forestry component of the 2022 Strategic Investment Priority Plan.

“Hydroponics are a soil-less farming system (using) mineral nutrient solutions through an inert medium such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, expanded clay, or coconut husk. With this process, water remains in the system and is reused, which, in turn, can decrease carbon footprint,” the BoI said.

Ceferino S. Rodolfo, BoI managing head, said Denso’s project will help address food security concerns.

“These high-value crops will be significant in supporting urban areas and leveling up the country’s agriculture industry. This is only the beginning of more projects that will make food security happen in the Philippines,” Mr. Rodolfo said.

According to the BoI, the project can also help address the area’s low level of self-sufficiency in highland vegetables, with the DA forecasting a deficit of 51,116 metric tons in the Calabarzon region.

“By 2027, the global hydroponics market is expected to reach $13.4 billion, (with a) 19.2% compound annual growth rate during the forecast period of 2021–2027,” the BoI said.

“The project is aligned with the food security program being pushed by the DA. It can help achieve the DA’s vision of elevating the Filipino farmers by improving the agriculture industry, as it may contribute to the attainment of food security in urban areas in terms of ensuring a sufficient supply of fruits and vegetables and supporting green agriculture,” it added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave