THE Department of Agriculture (DA) turned over the P5-million Solar Power Irrigation System (SPIS) to Barangay Tara Farm Family Association (Bataffa) in Mabinay, Negros Oriental.

The solar irrigation is the first in the province and the second in Central Visayas.

It is expected to irrigate 21.3 hectares of rice field, including the newly-converted and expanded land in the locality.

Bataffa president Neil Owen Lubid thanked DA for the said project, as they can now plant rice in both wet and dry seasons.

He said water supply is the top problem of rice farmers in the area and "we are known as the rice supplier of our municipality."

“Dako gyud kaau og ikatabang kining maong patubig sa pagpadako ug pagpataas sa among abot. Makatanom na gyud mi sa second copping bisag ting-init. Sa una kausa ra gyud mi makatanom sa usa ka tuig kay tungod aning kakuwangon sa tubig (This water system helps us increase our yield and income because we can now plant even during dry season. Before, we could only plant once a year due to lack of water supply)," Lubid said.

Bataffa farm manager Billy Bajandi said the facility will encourage them to work harder.

“Karon nga aduna nami igong supply sa tubig sa among basakan, among doblehon ang among kakugi ug paningkamotan namo nga makasuporta mi sa panginahanglan dili lamang sa among pamilya kung dili sa tibook nasud kay samtang buhi pa kita, mukaon man gyud ta (Now that we already have enough supply of water, we will double our hard work and persistence for us to support not only the needs of our family but for the country because as long as we are alive, we have to eat)," Bajandi said.

Mabinay Mayor Joeterry Uy is hopeful that more facilities like the SPIS shall be offered for the other barangays of Mabinay as their town is an agricultural area.

DA Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer Sarah Perocho encouraged rice farmers to continue farming for them to produce more food.

Perocho assured that DA will support them technically and provide their agricultural needs to boost farm production. (PIA)