More Pangasinan farmers get solar-powered irrigation
URDANETA CITY — With only 66 percent of farmlands in Pangasinan being irrigated, the government is bringing more solar power systems to the province to generate water for these farms.
Gaudencio de Vera, provincial manager of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), said farmers have started turning to the solar-powered irrigation system (SPIS), which the agency introduced to replace expensive diesel pumps.
The technology is composed of solar panels, a pump, electronic controls to operate the pump, storage tank, and conveyance structures.
De Vera said the system is more cost-efficient than the fuel-powered irrigation pumps due to the rising cost of diesel.
“[The SPIS] can last for up to 25 years as long as the solar panels are well-maintained. Only the batteries have to be changed every two years,” De Vera told a forum here on Friday.
The NIA has completed one system in Barangay Pacuan in Malasiqui town that will irrigate 25 hectares of cornfields. The system has five stations, each with 10 panels that can irrigate 3 to 5 hectares.
The agency is also constructing two systems worth P45 million in Mangaldan town and San Carlos City that can irrigate 92 ha and benefit 140 farmers.
Angelito Miguel, NIA manager in the Ilocos region, said 120,145 ha of farmlands in the province have irrigation systems while 61,116 ha are being targeted for irrigation.
Miguel said the irrigation projects were delayed when Luzon was put on lockdown in March. But the construction of the Lower Agno River Irrigation System Improvement Project (Larisip) had resumed, he said.
When completed, Larisip could irrigate 12,600 ha of farmlands in the towns of Rosales, Sto. Tomas, Alcala and Bautista in Pangasinan; San Manuel and Moncada in Tarlac; and Cuyapo in Nueva Ecija.
Miguel said the project can already provide irrigation to 3,000 ha. He said Pangasinan farmers were barely affected by the lockdown since most of them harvested their “palay” (unhusked rice) before the community quarantine. YOLANDA SOTELO
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