DA-BAR chief visits solar-powered irrigation system in CLSU

DA-BAR OIC-director Joell Lales, together with Research Program Development Division head Raymond Patrick Cabrera and other DA-BAR officials and staff, visited the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija to look into the mobile solar-powered hose reel irrigation system (SPHRIS) studied and established under the DA-BAR-funded project “Renewable Energy Powering Agriculture: Integration of Photovoltaic Technology with Farm Production System.”

During the site visit, Dr. Edgar Orden, CLSU president, and Dr. Armando Espino Jr., vice president for Research and Extension and project leader, highlighted the practicality and performance of the mobile SPHRIS in providing cheaper, cleaner, and reliable crop irrigation in remote areas. 

Currently demonstrated in the CLSU grounds, the SPHRIS is a climate-smart technology that utilizes PhotoVoltaic technology–converting sunlight into electricity–thereby addressing uncertainties associated with fluctuating availability and price of diesel fuel. Composed of a hose reel and mobile solar-powered pump, the SPHRIS can be moved from farm to farm; thus allowing reach to distant farms, as well as generation of areas to be irrigated for crop production. Moreover, the use of hose reel irrigation, as highlighted by Dr. Espino, increases irrigation efficiency as it “allow[s] for efficient distribution of irrigation water and eliminates conveyance losses when using canals or ditches.”

The project collaborated with selected onion and rice farmers cooperatives and associations at Brgy. San Agustin, San Jose City and Brgy. Licaong, Science City of Muñoz, respectively, in testing the mobile system.

Seeing the potential of the innovation and technology that the project has developed, DA-BAR director Lales encouraged the team to pursue further activities to ensure that significant R4D outputs such as this would be upscaled, especially to remote, rural areas of the region and beyond, to boost agricultural production and improve farmers’ incomes. 
Nearing its completion, the project targets to implement some modifications to the system, such as lowering the position of panels for easier transport and testing for other potential functions as a power source for small farm machineries. (### Mara Shyn Valdeabella-Pacunana)