A PLAN to use solar powered irrigation system in the Cordillera has been initiated by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The solar power system is being planned for areas that don’t have irrigation system with a capacity to pump from 400 to 1,000 gallons of water a day for up to 150 hectares of rice farm.

DA-OIC Regional Director Lorenzo Caranguian said based on Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) data, Abra had the highest rice area in the region but only 44 percent is fully serviced by an irrigation system.

With this, Caranguian wants to introduce the solar powered irrigation system to the province adding he was searching for an area to serve as a pilot beneficiary for this system.

Caranguian challenged farmers to increase the rice area in Abra and can serve as their counterpart in the DA’s quest of achieving sufficient rice supply for the country adding there is some 2500 hectares that can be tapped for production purposes in the province alone.

Based on data from the Bureau of Statistics, out of the 3.9 million hectares of rice farms in the country, only 1.2 million hectares benefit from communal irrigation systems that allow farmers to plant rice twice a year. The rest of the 2.7 million hectares of rice lands are rain-fed only, and farmers there could plant rice only once a year.

Last January, DA had already launched and inaugurated the solar powered irrigation system in Mlang town in North Cotabato province. (DA-CAR)