Duterte pledges support for DA’s ambitious solar-powered irrigation project
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said President Rodrigo Duterte has pledged to support Department of Agriculture (DA) in building solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS) across different parts of the country.
According to him, Duterte made the commitment during the 28th Cabinet Meeting.
Piñol said it would take as much as P43.7 billion to build SPIS facilities that are enough to cover 500,000 hectares of non-irrigated land.
“I informed the President that 169 units have either been completed or undergoing construction this year but that next year, the budget will only allow us to build 10 additional units,” Piñol said.
“I told the President that the DA will have to abandon some of its non-essential programs and realign the funds to the SPIS program for 2019 with a target of at least 100 additional units,” he added.
Currently, only 1.2 million hectares of the estimated 3.9 million hectares of rice farms are served by irrigation systems under the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
“You will get the budget that you need for that,” Duterte then told Piñol.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno also told the President during the discussion that the money for the SPIS program could come from the Imported Rice Tariffication Program and regular funds to be included in the national budget for 2020.