THE first and biggest solar-powered water irrigation system in Luzon was inaugurated over the weekend in Llanera, Nueva Ecija.
The project for the uplift of farmers held under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture (DA) was unveiled in barangays Caridad Norte and Caridad Sur.
It was meant to enhance and help sustain rice production in the highland areas of the mostly rain-dependent Llanera town.
Immediately benefiting almost 200 happily smiling farmers, the pioneering project was under the supervision of Roy M. Abaya, the DA’s executive director of the Regional Field Office 3, in tandem with Crispulo G. Bautista Jr., the DA-RFO 3 assistant regional director for operations.
It was constructed and installed by Bacolod City-based R.U. Foundry and Machine Shop Corporation (RUFMSC), also known as the famous maker of, among others, shredders known for use in organic farming and wastes management.
The Llanera solar facility is composed of 140 Lorentz solar panels on a 40-HP submersible pump, attached to state-of-the-art electronic control devices and equipped with a highly reliable flow meter gauge, concrete storage tank and massive irrigation-distribution pipelines.
The photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed via precision-engineered aluminum frames to withstand extreme weather conditions standing on heavy-duty concrete posts.
The breakthrough P7-million project can irrigate from 50 to 70 hectares on a constant supply of water for the rice lands in Caridad Norte and Caridad Sur, which formerly depended mainly on rainwater for sustenance.
With this new solar-powered facility, productivity will now be tremendously boosted to the delight of farmers long suffering from lack of water to sustain constant farm productivity.
A company long dedicated to uplift farmers’ station in life, the RUFMSC, through its Chairman Ramon Uy Sr., injected a highly advanced technology to the solar-water project at no extra cost to the government.
Long driven by his desire to make Filipino farmers at equal footing with their counterparts in the region, Uy has not stopped inventing technology to advance his cause.
He used to be mainly involved in organic farming for environmental preservation, prodding farmers to go back to the basics by forming cooperatives in his native Bacolod.
“Without our farmers, where will we be?” Uy said. “If we do not help improve the lives of our farmers, we have no business talking about rice sufficiency at all. The survival of the farmers is our very own survival.”
Farming is still very much backward in the Philippines that most farmlands remain unirrigated, forcing farmers to depend largely on rainwater.
Some can afford to use diesel-powered pumps for water sourcing, but increasing prices of fuel raise production costs unabated—ultimately leading to decreased dividends.
Unregulated motorized intrusion on soil also affects the environment in the long run.
But worldwide trends consistently indicate that renewable energies, particularly the solar-power technology, are increasingly becoming the normal and logical solution for sustained farm productivity in the countryside.
In the eyes of DA officials Abaya and Bautista, who were very much impressed with Uy’s breakthrough new solar system in Nueva Ecija, the pilot project could be a wake-up call for like-minded government officials to hopefully “redirect their focus” on how to alleviate the woeful condition of Filipino farmers for the longest time.
A man of action, Uy completed the solar-water facility on time, commending RUFMSC’s project engineers Fred Lista and Marvin Gonzaga from the Ecological and Agricultural Development Foundation Inc. “for a job well done.”
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