Llanera, Nueva Ecija—Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol leads the ceremonial turnover of the first of eight solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS) that will boost the rice farmers income.
The P7.2-million SPIS equipped with a 5-horsepower pump can irrigate up to 50 hectares.
SPIS is a project introduced by Piñol as part of his 10-point priority agenda in uplifting the state of rice farming in the country.
It aims to increase rice production by providing the water needed by farmers to irrigate their farms and enable them to plant and harvest at least twice a year thereby increasing productivity.
Director Cris Bautista, DA Region 3 chief, said 140 solar panels that can generate 29 to 37 kw or 40 to 50 horsepower, subversible pumps with 8-inch diameter and piping with 20 meters, ultra pennel, concrete tank, and perimeter fence.
Bautista said this SPIS were turned over to the Caridad Sur and Norte Irrigators Association.
“Compared to the big NIA irrigation systems that are costly and require millions of pesos for construction, the SPIS is cheaper and can be built within three months,” said Piñol.
With the establishment of more SPIS, Piñol said he hopes to introduce later another technology called Fertigation. As the name implies, fertigation is a process in which fertilizer is applied with the irrigation water.
“Through this technology, fertilization becomes more accurate and uniform for every rice area,” Piñol added.
The DA’s SPIS Project goes in tandem with the Easy Access Credit Loan Program called Production Loan Easy Access that gives farmers the access to a loan of only six percent interest rate without collateral payable in two years for rice farmers.
Piñol order to Director Bautista to give one harvester machine, two-tractor for the use of the farmers. During the turnover ceremony and open forum with farmers, Piñol commits to allocating P5 million under the PLEA Program of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council as initial fund for the farmers in CSIA.
Each farmer can avail himself of the loan provided that they undergo the orientation, financial literacy program, and register under the Farmers Registration System.
The DA hopes that through this two flagship program under the Duterte administration, farmers will finally graduate from the choking hold of loan sharks.
In 2019, a budget of P3.4 billion has been allocated for easy access credit financing under the Agricultural Credit and Policy Council.
In addition, Piñol directed DA Region 3 Regional Executive Director Cris Bautista to conduct a Rice Derby in Llanera town to determine the most suitable variety of rice for the locality.
Former barangay captain Roger Bautista and vice chairman of Caridad Norte Irrigators Association has donated five-hectare area for the said project, preferably those that benefit from the solar irrigation system.
Rice Derby is a technology demonstration initiative of the DA where Rice Seed Companies will be given a one-hectare area to showcase the yield capacity and performance of their product.
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