Piñol wants RIPE for rice, solar-powered irrigation
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he has designed RIPE – or Rice Productivity Enhancement – that seeks to ensure rice self-sufficiency using scientific methods.
Piñol, on his Facebook account, said RIPE involves a thorough review of the country’s water management and irrigation policies, the conduct of a nation-wide soil analysis, an extensive program to improve rice farming technology, the introduction of high-yielding rice varieties, effective soil rehabilitation and fertilizer program and modern harvest and post-harvest facilities to minimize losses.
He said the Philippines should not rely on importations for its needs because its Asian neighbors are also affected by climate change and natural disasters.
Piñol said there must also be viable program to ensure the needs of corn-eating provinces like Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Bohol, Cebu, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, the three provinces of Samar and Northern Mindanao.
“For livestock and poultry, the country must develop its feed components supplies and lessen its dependence on imported materials like soya and even fishmeal to ensure that the cost of production would be lower,” he said.
Piñol said government will shift its irrigation mindset to small and community-based irrigation projects instead of the big and expensive ones.
He said the DA will introduce solar-powered irrigation facilities, especially in remote villages which are not connected to the power grid, to provide water for the rice fields, vegetable gardens, for drinking purposes and for power to the community.
He said the idea of using solar-powered irrigation facilities dawned upon him when he visited a tilapia fishpond owned and managed by a Filipino-American in the middle of the desert in Southern California.
He said three prototypes of new concept in agricultural irrigation will soon be built in three pilot areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.