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News: Crops Growing in City Buildings - 02 Aug 2010
MANILA, Philippines - Makati City can become the leading urban agriculture center in the country through the establishment of vertical farms, according to Vice Mayor Ernesto S. Mercado.
“Makati City has the potential to be a pioneer in urban agriculture in the country. The city should seriously look into developing urban agriculture because of its benefits,” Mercado said.
Vertical farming is the method of growing crops in city buildings.  
While urban agriculture is not a new concept, agriculturists, engineers and urban planners are continuously working to improve the business model that cities can use to establish vertical farms.
Mercado said vertical farms may be pilot-tested in selected underutilized properties in Makati City. “This is an area that the city can invest in and partner with investors. Groundwork can be prepared in cooperation with NGOs, the academe and research companies that share our vision of an environmentally-responsible and sensitive city,” Mercado said.
“The benefits of urban agriculture to a city like Makati are enormous. Aside from the production values, city residents can also learn first-hand the benefits of environmental protection, waste recycling and nutrition,” Mercado said.
He said the cycle of drought and floods brought about by climate change has wreaked havoc on traditional farms.
“Experts have already pointed out that food production creates pressures on the environment. Climate change also affects the ability of traditional farms to produce more to feed a growing population. So I believe it is high time for cities like Makati to explore and develop their potential for urban agriculture,” Mercado said.
He noted that vertical farming can provide interested building owners a viable option of earning from a different kind of occupancy. Mercado said one indoor acre is already equivalent to 2.4 outdoor hectares or more depending on the crop, based on computations by urban agriculture expert Dickson Despommier of Columbia University.
“A 30-storey high-rise could yield as much food as 970 hectares. And the benefits include the elimination of agricultural runoff by recycling water, of pesticides or fertilizers, creates sustainable environments for urban centers, and creates new employment opportunities for city dwellers,” Mercado added. Source: PhilSTAR.com , Agriculture Section
Posted By: PhilSTAR.com 
 
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