Agri department to receive P5-M solar-powered irrigation equipment

Pamela Jay F. Orias

FARMERS across the region will soon experience a solar-powered irrigation system as the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Northern Mindanao is set to receive 10 units of solar equipment worth P5 million.

DA-Northern Mindanao assistant regional director Roxana Hojas said during Monday's flag raising ceremony at the Provincial Capitol said the solar-powered irrigation system is the "latest interest" of the Agriculture Department this year.

"The costs may be big, but later on it will not be that expensive because it will use the sun as the source, not fuel," she said.

Chief of Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Division Mary Grace Sta. Elena said each unit costs P500,000 but will be able to irrigate more or less 100 hectares and produce 400 to 600 liters of water per day.

Sta. Elena said with the new strategy, farmers could save money by using this system instead of using diesel fueled water pumps.

Sta. Elena said DA-Northern Mindanao's engineering division is still looking for potential locations where the solar-powered irrigation system will be placed.

Aside from the newest irrigation system, DA will also introduce solar-powered fish tank.

Sta. Elena said the fish tank is composed of two tanks, where one tank will be used for growing Kangkong while the other tank will be used for growing Tilapia.

The machine will then draw water from the tank full of Tilapia wastes which will be used to fertilize Kangkong, and, in return the water will be filtered by the Kangkong plants and will be pumped back to the Tilapia tank.

"So while gahulat ang farmer sa iyahang yield sa tanom, kompleto na kay naa nay isda, naa pa gyuy gulay (While our farmers wait for their harvest, they have fish and vegetable to harvest too alongside)," she said.

Meanwhile, DA-Northern Mindanao also turned-over 53 bags of rice seeds worth P71,550 and 40 bags of corn seeds worth P60,000 for the farmers of the different towns in Misamis Oriental whose farms were damaged due to the low pressure area last January 16.

Another 22 bags of rice seeds worth P29, 000 and 12 bags of corn seeds amounting to P18, 000 were also distributed to the rice and farmers in Tagoloan town as intervention of the rat infestation damage in the said area.

"Dako kaayo ang reported damage from the big flood last January 16, especially sa Misamis Oriental (There is a huge damage from the big flood last January 16 especially in Misamis Oriental)," Hojas said.

"Also, the present admin is keen on giving farmers livelihood, not only that but also the government wants the farmers to have a wider market of products, in this way, they can also generate more income," she added.

Hojas also urged the farmers to plant the seeds immediately and not wait until three months when the seed germination is low.

"The assistance that we have distributed today should be immediately used by the farmers because if not, these will be damaged. This is why farmers say we distribute damaged seeds, but actually it's because they failed to plant it immediately," she said.

"When we give seeds, we make sure that of course, they grow and help our farmers," Hojas added.