All roads lead to a remote village in Mlang, North Cotabato today as President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to launch one of his election promises – free irrigation for farmers. This after Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol envisioned a solar-powered irrigation system to be given by the government for free to rice farmers throughout the country beginning this year.
“Time has come that our rice producers will no longer worry about the cost of irrigating their farmlands,” Pinol told the Philippine News Agency in a phone interview.
“This is because the country is rich with water sources that can be tapped for free through this project as promised by President Duterte before he became our President,” he added.
Pinol revealed that the idea to build the first prototype Solar-Powered Irrigation System was actually a result of “Biyaheng Bukid” (Trip to the Countryside) he launched after Duterte named him to head the agriculture office.
A farmer by heart, Pinol traveled to rice producing provinces and personally listened to farmers’ woes and to see the country’s agricultural situation. Before that, the agriculture chief visited a friend in Thermal City, Southern California. His friend used solar powered water pumps that drew water from underground. And Pinol simply learned the idea and brought the technology back home.
Last December, Pinol switched-on the first ever “No-Inverter Solar-Powered Irrigation System” in Barangay New Janiuay in Mlang.
“It would signal the start of the Solar-Powered Irrigation Revolution in the country,” the Agri chief said.
He said the water pump will no longer use expensive batteries but solar power.
Pinol added that the project will not only benefit rice farmers but also high value crops in upland areas in the country.