Philippines university offers hydroponics program

Foundation University (FU) in Dumaguete City, in the province of Negros Oriental, Philippines, will offer more agriculture- related courses following the success of its hydroponics program that grew plants without using soil.

FU College of Agriculture (FUCA) Dean Engr Mark Espedilla said the university will offer more short-term courses relevant to today’s evolving agriculture.

“We will have courses on tissue culture, organic farming, and other courses and we will offer them regularly to cater to the rising needs and interests of Dumaguetenos,” Espedilla said.

FU embarked on its Hydroponics program in 2009, brought on by a small group of local hydroponics hobbyists who were learning from each other and who shared this technology.

As part of its summer course offerings, FUCA decided to offer urban gardening with emphasis on hydroponics and aquaponics, a system that combines aquaculture with hydroponics. Urban gardening later on became the college’s research and extension project throughout the academic year.

Espedilla said the course participants were made to craft their own hydroponics projects and went on field trips to demo farms and other hydroponics gardens, “to give them a better understanding of the technology.” One of the course’s students, professional

airline pilot Narain Hassaram, sees himself retiring in a few years and running his own hydroponics farm. For his final project, Hassaram chose to construct a portable 40-plant Nutrient Film Technique hydroponics set-up, which can provide the daily fresh herb and vegetable requirements of a medium-sized family.

On the other hand, Graciano Jose Pal, a junior Animal Science student from Silliman University, enrolled to seek a diversion from his usual courses in college. But his interest in the subject increased after he learned of the potential of hydroponics in attaining food sustainability.

The students said they appreciated that FUCA was able to bring down the cost of a hydroponics system by using locally available materials.

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