Solar-powered irrigation to boost rice production
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - May 30, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The construction of solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS) nationwide would help the country become self sufficient in rice, the chief of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said a total of 117 SPIS would be built all over the country this year, to irrigate almost 5,000 hectares.

Piñol said the SPIS could irrigate up to 500,000 hectares in the remaining four years of the Duterte administration.

“With the target of 500,000 hectares over the next four years, an estimated four-million metric tons (MT) of paddy rice will be added to the current production of 19-million MT,” Piñol said.

Piñol said this would help make the country rice self sufficient.

At current production level, the country still needs to import about 600,000 to 800,000 metric tons of rice.

“With solar-powered irrigation, however, things could change drastically by 2022,” Piñol added.

The agriculture chief said the advantage of the SPIS is that hundreds of units could be constructed at the same time in just two months and at less expense.

The first SPIS in Matalam, North Cotabato was commissioned last week and now irrigates 40 hectares of previously rain-fed rice farms.

The P6.4 million project was competed in just days and offers less development cost at around P150,000 per hectare as compared to about P450,000 per hectare for conventional irrigation systems.

Piñol said President Duterte would lead the commissioning of the second fully-operational SPIS in Central Luzon in June to signify his support to the DA’s flagship project.

In March 2017, President Duterte witnessed the demonstration of the SPIS prototype in New Janiuay, Mlang, North Cotabato.   

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE EMMANUEL PIñOL RICE SOLAR-POWERED IRRIGATION SYSTEMS
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