Farming is the new sexy for this Davao developer

Rendered façade of UP—Coined as the UPLB of Mindanao, the University of the Philippines Professional school for Agriculture and the environment (UPPSAE) will offer students courses on entomology, environmental science, Agricultural Business and Architectural Landscape

Part Two

The next generation of agri experts

As part of its commitment to cultivate the next generation’s knowledge and skills in agriculture, DLI through Agriya, has partnered with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in housing an education center dedicated to the young, innovative minds of people from the South who will be the future of agriculture.

The memorandum of agreement between DLI and UPLB was signed in January 2017. Among others, the partnership between these two institutions entailed a 32,000-sq-m land donation from DLI and its mother company, Anflo Management and Investment Corp. This space was reserved for the erection of administrative offices, multipurpose halls, academic buildings, lecture rooms and laboratory facilities for the benefit of the university’s students. Ample space inside the property was also set aside for the expansion of the campus, and the building of additional academic buildings and greenhouses.

“Despite the richness of our country’s soil, the agricultural industry of the Philippines remained overshadowed by other booming sectors. Armed with our expertise, and vast lands dedicated to paying homage to our agricultural heritage, we endeavor to reverse this unfortunate circumstance, and propel the agricultural industry to be one of the country’s main drivers of economic growth,” Cary shared.

Coined as the UPLB of Mindanao, the University of the Philippines Professional School for Agriculture and the Environment will offer students courses on Entomology, Environmental Science, Agricultural Business and Architectural Landscape. In the academic year 2018-2019, UPPSAE offered a Master of Science in Plant Pathology program in off-campus mode. As it bolsters its stature, the university is set to offer the Doctor of Philosophy by Research Program with specializations this year. In the succeeding years, UPPSAE will also be announcing additional short courses and trainings as they become available in the university.

“DLI strives to educate and instill the value of the industry to the current and the future generations. The establishment of a university, the first of its kind to boot, that can ensconce the region’s agricultural values and train them to be the masters of this field is our first step in achieving this,” he added.

Apart from molding the next set of agricultural experts, the anticipated presence of the UPPSAE in Davao can aid in the prevention of brain drain in the South as it lessens the risk of scholars not returning to Mindanao. It is envisioned to be a catalyst for development in the region as it accelerates the necessary human capital formation in the region, and provides an accessible hub for knowledge sharing in agriculture and related disciplines. Ultimately, the establishment of the UPPSAE will provide devoted learners in the South the opportunity to experience high-quality education without the need to spend money on relocation, and to leave their family and the comforts of their home.

Naturetainment: the nature of learning, the learning from nature

With agriculture as the backdrop of DLI’s agropolis, Naturetainment capitalizes on this treasure of the region through tourism. A combination of the words “nature” and “entertainment,” this agritourism element of Agriya attracts all kinds of tourists with its diverse, exciting adventure and recreational activities that make agricultural learning more palatable to people of all ages.

Coupled with experiential, fun and interactive activities on sustainable farming, endemic, and edible fauna integrated in the landscape as the main theme, Naturetainment will also serve as an encouragement for tourists to integrate agriculture in their way of life.

“Mindanao takes pride in its status as the country’s main producer of agricultural products. The possible influx of nature-interested tourists, brought upon by an agropolis conceptualized and brought to life by our company, is one of the greatest homage that we can give to the agricultural heritage of Mindanao. More than that, however, their entry will generate more opportunities for our communities to thrive and grow along with the region’s economy,” Cary shared.

Naturetainment will be divided into two zones that will offer distinct activities for people from all stages of life. In March this year, the first phase of the Farming Zone will be operational, where the beauty of agriculture is showcased to visitors. As Davao is the largest producer of bananas in the country, the Farming Zone features a working banana farm that displays a total of 67 edible and ornamental varieties of the fruit out of the more than 300 varieties available around the world.

The agritourism park will also be demonstrating to their patrons the overall production process of bananas through an experiential banana walk that will tour Agriya’s tourists to the manufacturing stages of banana: planting, harvesting and packing, grading and its exportation to various places.

To give tourists a better picture of Mindanao’s abundance in natural wealth, the Farming Zone is also home to high-value crops farm that flaunts the variety of vegetables grown and cultivated in farms, and used as well in edible landscaping. This will also be featuring crop mazes, fruit-bearing trees such as pomelos and mangosteens, a pick-pay-eat farmhouse restaurant and farmers’ stands that provide fresh produce daily to DLI’s communities.

This month, the Activity Zone of the Naturetainment will be launching its operations that include features such as Earth Mound and Nature Play. The development of the Activity Zone will continue for two years, and will be expected to introduce activities such as a Giant Swing, Roller Coaster Zipline, Rappelling and Free Fall Activities.


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