By Danny Estacio
LUMBAN, Laguna — The members of Wawa Ibayo Barangay Agricultural and Fishery Council (BAFC), have turned to solar power to irrigate their farmlands.
Last Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol led the turnover of a P5.7-million solar-powered irrigation system (SPIS) to the farmers group.
The system can deliver up to 64 liters of water per second for 25 hectares of rice lands, enabling the farmers to harvest thrice a year.
Piñol recalled that the plan to develop SPIS was a result of his visit to rice-producing provinces in the country.
“This project is viable because the Philippines has natural and rich water resources – many rivers, tributaries, and lakes, so irrigation pumps can pull water from underground; and compared to irrigation systems that are costly and require millions of pesos for its construction, the SPIS is cheaper and can be built within three months,” he said.
Piñol also recommended another technology called “fertigation” – in which fertilizer is applied with the irrigation water. “Through this process, fertilizer becomes precise and even for every rice area,” he said.
Regional Director Arnel V. de Mesa of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Calabarzon office said the system is made up of 112 solar panels, two 11-kilowatt pumps or motors, modern electronic control devices, highly-reliable flow meter gauge, concrete storage tank, and irrigation distribution pipelines.