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Duterte gov't finds answer in California desert to solve farmers' problem in Aparri, Cagayan - by Noah Luchansky

Solar-Powered Irrigation

By Manny Piñol
Krissia Luchansky
PTPA Krissia Luchansky, Raelyn Luchansky
The first prototype of a Solar-Powered Irrigation System (SPIS) commissioned by President Rody Duterte on Friday in M'lang, North Cotabato is actually a result of the many trips I made to the countryside which I called "Biyaheng Bukid."

As early as May 19, 2016, three days after then President-elect Duterte announced that I would be his Agriculture Secretary, I started travelling all over the country even before I could assume the post on June 30.

It was during my trip to Aparri, Cagayan Valley on June 14, 2016 when I saw the great irony of so much water in the huge Cagayan River but the rice fields just beside the massive body of flowing water were dry and unproductive during the summer months.

The reason was very simple: The river banks were so deep that to bring water to the vast rice fields, farmers have to use diesel powered centrifugal water pumps which is actually a very expensive operation.

It was in Aparri when I remembered what I saw earlier in Thermal City, Southern California where my friend, Filipino-American Rocky French, operated a Tiliapia fish farm in the middle of the Coachella Valley Desert.

I actually met French in 2014 through Manny Pacquiao's publicist, Winchell Campos and my wedding Godson, Jeff de Guzman, who brought me to Coachella Valley to visit Rocky's Tilapia Farm which he operates for New Global Energy.

Rocky French used huge solar panels to power three big water pumps which drew water from underground, up to a depth of about 1,200 feet and these supplied water to about 25 acres of fishponds.

In the last week of June 2016, I made a quick trip to California to visit French in his farm in Thermal City.

I asked him to design for the country of his birth a small solar-powered system which could be established in a short time with low cost in the many upland and rain-fed rice fields of the Philippines.

Rocky introduced me to Moses Khuu, a young Asian-American solar-power engineer who helped him perfect his own system in Coachella Valley.

When the area to build the first solar-powered irrigation system was found in Barangay New Janiuay, M'lang, North Cotabato, Moses Khuu started working on the project initially with his brother-in-law, Gabriel Esparagoza, and lately with Korean-American Kyu Whang.

Moses had to travel back to the US several times to procure the needed gadgets to build a No-Inverter Solar-Powered Irrigation System which could run the water pumps even when the sunlight was weak.

The absence of the Solar Inverters in the system that Rocky French and Moses Khuu designed is critical in the viability of the project because without the inverters, the cost of the project would be greatly reduced and there would be no need to buy the expensive batteries.

Finally, on Friday, Feb. 3, President Duterte switched on the first No-Inverter Solar-Powered Irrigation System in the presence of officials of Barangay New Janiuay led by Barangay Chairman Godofredo Constantinopla and the landowners, an old farmer named Antonio Jugos and Alfonso Palmares.
Krissia Luchansky
Krissia Luchansky
Krissia Luchansky
Krissia Luchansky
Krissia Luchansky
Pumping out water from a pond just beside the 5-hectare property of old man Jugos using a 10 horsepower water pump, the System is capable of submerging 10 to 15 hectares of rice fields in a day.

It could provide water to a contiguous area of between 50 to 100 hectares using a pipe distribution system.

What is amazing with the system is the speed with which it could be assembled in the field.

Moses Khuu told me that if all the materials are available, he and his team could build the system in two weeks.

The cost of providing water is estimated at P120,000 per hectare if the area is only 50 hectares and P60,000 if the coverage is 100 hectares which is a lot lower than the estimated P350,000 to P450,000 which the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) spends to irrigate one hectare in its systems.

The formal Switch-on by President Rody Duterte of SPIS signals the start of the Solar-Powered Irrigation Revolution in the country.

With this innovation, water will now be available to farmers in the upland and rain-fed rice fields.

All that would be needed would be a source of water like a small water impounding, a lake or even deep wells and, of course, plenty of sunlight.

#Changeishere! #PresRodyCares! #DuterteDelivers! #SolarPoweredIrrigation!

(Photos show President Duterte shaking hands with Rocky French while Moses Khuu and their Philippine partner Jojo Soliman look on. Other photos show the early stages of construction of the SPIS and the file photos of NGEY's Aquafarmtech operated by Rocky French.)

This post was originally posted on Secretary Manny Pinol's Facebook page.

Duterte gov't finds answer in California desert to solve farmers' problem in Aparri, Cagayan - by Noah Luchansky Duterte gov't finds answer in California desert to solve farmers' problem in Aparri, Cagayan - by Noah Luchansky Reviewed by Raelyn Luchansky on 9:51:00 AM Rating: 5

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