Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary, Emmanuel F. Piñol led the turnover of four units of Solar Powered Irrigation System (SPIS) to the farmers of the municipalities of Tayum, La Paz, Bucay and Danglas in Abra on May 23, 2019. The beneficiaries of this project are the Bagalay Solar Power Irrigators Association Inc. in Tayum, Malabbaga La Paz Farmers Association in La Paz, Bangon Nagbalitangan Farmers Association in Bucay, and Danglas Farmers Association Inc. in Danglas.
The SPIS was designed to irrigate 10 hectares but can serve up to 50 hectares through the addition of more pipes from the water source thus irrigation can be extended to other areas nearby. In addition, this system can irrigate up to three hectares in a day on the average. From the current estimated harvest of 2.8 metric tons per cropping season in Abra, the SPIS aims to help farmers boost their production up to 6 metric tons with the use quality seeds. In addition, the traditional one cropping per year in the said municipalities can be extended up to three cropping each year with the help of the newly constructed SPIS.
In his message Secretary Piñol described the SPIS technology as a common tool in other countries. He said “this technology, SPIS, is not new. It is being used by other countries like Israel, Pakistan, and Southern California.” He further went to emphasize the importance of irrigation in agriculture. He added, “there are three things needed in agriculture, first you have to have land, sunlight, and water. Land can be disregarded in production with the use hydroponics, and sunlight can be replaced by artificial lighting but there is no substitute for water in food production. You cannot grow a crop without water that is why it is very important when it comes to production.”
The Secretary also emphasized that the SPIS is one of the DA’s coping mechanisms in addressing El Niño. He explained, “in cases of El Niño, why should we be worried about three rainless months? We just have to prepare for it and this technology is the perfect example to beat El Niño. Gamitin mo ang lakas ng kalaban para magtagumpay. Ang kalaban natin sa El Niño itong sobrang init ng araw, itong sistema na ito gagamitin natin ang init ng araw para magkaroon tayo ng patubig at makapagtanim tayo. This is the philosophy of Kung Fu, ‘use the strength of your enemy to overpower him’. So in this technology, kung kailan mas mainit, mas maganda ito sapagkat mas malakas ang takbo ng ating bomba and mas marami tayong areas na macocover.”
The Secretary hopes to multiply the project in other areas in Abra and in the Philippines to provide continues irrigation to the rice producing areas to sustain production. Secretary Piñol was welcomed by the LGU officials of Abra led by Abra Representative Joseph Santo Nino B. Bernos, Governor Maria Jocelyn V. Bernos, Mayor Felix Joash B. Eduarte of Tayum and La Paz Mayor Menchie B. Bernos. Representatives from the DA attached agencies and bureaus were also present during the launching program at Tayum and La Paz. (by Resley Ann G. Sumedca)