MANILA, Philippines — The Israeli government is set to complete two solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS) in Laguna as part of efforts to help ensure sufficient rice supply in the Philippines.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the LR Group of Israel subsidiary Innovative Agro Industry would soon complete the replacement of the diesel engine-powered water pumps and another one using underground water from a deep well in Lumban in Laguna.
Apart from the two SPIS units, the Israeli government is offering a P44 billion long term loan to the Department of Agriculture to build an additional 6,200 units to serve an estimated 500,000 hectares nationwide.
The LR Group offered to establish two models of their solar irrigation technology, one is designed to replace the diesel engine-powered shallow tube wells where farmers spend about P15,000 per hectare per planting season just for the fuel,” Piñol said.
“The other would be a deep-well sourced solar powered irrigation designed to provide water in areas where there are no open sources for water,” he said.
Some of the components of the SPIS were designed and fabricated in Israel and shipped to the Philippiaes for installation under the supervision of Israeli engineers and experts.
The demonstration area in Laguna is targeted for completion within the month. It will then be presented by the Israeli ambassador to President Duterte.
The technology introduced by the LR Group is seen to increase rice production by four million metric tons of paddy rice per annum.
Piñol has emphasized the need to irrigate more lands in the country to boost the production of rice and other high value crops.
“The inability of the country to cope with the rice needs of its consumers is mainly because of the fact that of the estimated 2.9 million hectares of rice farms, only about 1.2 million are effectively irrigated where farmers could plant twice a year,” he said.
The DA has already constructed around 200 SPIS units all over the country but it needs to irrigate 500,000 hectares by the end of Duterte’s term.
Innovative Agro Industry was among the Israeli agriculture firms that met with the DA to explore possible business opportunities for bilateral cooperation during the last forum hosted by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute and the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.
The Philippines is looking at Israel for the development of new technologies for the agriculture sector.