SANTA BARBARA, Pangasinan: More solar water pumps will be installed in the coming months to enable farmers to have additional rice planting seasons.
Ralph Du, deputy director of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), said that the agency has gradually shifted to the use of solar-powered water pumps because of the high cost of diesel fuel.
“We still have them (diesel water pumps). But it’s not as many as before because we are shifting to solar,” Du said.
He said that a solar-powered water pump is more expensive than the diesel-powered one, but, in the long term, there will be more savings for the farmers.
Du was in this town on Wednesday, September 21, to distribute water pumps and engine sets to 70 irrigator groups from the different parts of the province.
He said a solar-powered water pump has been installed in Lingayen town, and about 10 more are being installed in different parts of the province.
Gertrudes Viado, NIA Pangasinan division manager, said the equipment was given for free to farmers, especially those at the tail end of irrigation canals and in rain-fed farms of the province.
“NIA gives water pumps and engine sets because of climate change. Some areas are so dry and are not reached by water from the irrigation systems,” Viado said.
Dante Rivera, a member of the Integrated Organic Farmers Association of Agno, Pangasinan, said that the water pump received by his association will be a big help to a farmer like him who relies on rain.
“Thank you for this gift. We can now plant even after the rainy days,” Rivera said.
Pangasinan has an agricultural area of about 182,000 hectares. But only 109,200 hectares are irrigated and 72,800 hectares are rain-fed.
Gov. Ramon Guico 3rd thanked the NIA for the free water pumps and engine sets, saying the equipment will mean increased production and additional income for the farmers.
He urged the leaders of the farmers association to share the water pumps and engine sets with other farmers.
“Everybody should benefit from this equipment. Let’s not be selfish,” said Guico.
Du called on the farmers to take care of the equipment given to them, saying that with proper use and maintenance, farmers could use them for 25 years.
“Let’s take care of them. Let’s help each other. Taking care of this equipment will be a big help to their associations and the government,” Du said.