A total of 97 farmers of Barangay Catan-agan in Juban, Sorsogon became the latest beneficiaries of a solar-powered irrigation pump project under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program-Irrigation Component of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
The P12 million project was turned over to Catan-agan Farmers Irrigators Association, Inc. to help farmers increase their rice yield.
NIA Engr. Emma A. Manlagnit said that this is the first SPIP project of the NIA and DAR in Bicol, which aims to irrigate a total of 89 hectares of palay in the locality.
“Currently, we have six pumps, but the final design will consist of nine pumps. Each pump is equipped with 27 solar panels. The remaining three pumps will be built next year if further funding is granted, so there is no need for concern. Our only problem is the lack of canals. And with DAR’s help, canal systems can be improved,” she said.
According to Manlagnit, the first phase of the project was completed in January 2019, but the third and final phase are yet to be implemented.
“These solar panels can last up to 25 years if properly maintained. Due to the sensitivity of solar panels, the government rarely grants this type of project,” she added.
Sorsogon agrarian reform chief Nida Santiago expressed her thanks to everyone who made this project a reality.
“The SPIP will be beneficial to many rice producers because the engine, powered by solar panels, no longer requires crude oil, thus, cutting the cost of farmers’ expense in farming,” Santiago said.