The first-ever solar-powered irrigation system (SPIS) for two towns in Lanao del Sur Province has been launched recently. The province located in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Philippines is facing a prolonged water shortage problem for irrigation.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) of BARMM has turned over this $0.2 million (P10-million) project in the two neighboring upland towns of ‘Butig’ and ‘Sultan Dumalondong’ in Lanao Del Sur, with the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), a government inter-agency task force group.
MAFAR–BARMM Minister Mohammad S. Yacob said that the project has solar panels and 20 horsepower (HP) generation capacity, competent enough to accumulate 3.5 cubic meters of water per minute with 660 cubic meters that can supply water for 50-70 hectares of farmlands.
The solar irrigation system seeks to address the farmer’s water shortage problem and help them in boosting their rice production. The project is expected to be a model for uplifting the livelihood of farmer communities in Lanao Del Sur, as well as in the whole Bangsamoro Region.
The primary beneficiaries of these solar-powered irrigation pumps are the farmers of the villages of ‘Cabasaran and Sumalindaw’ in the town of Butig, and ‘Malalis’ villages in the municipality of Sultan Dumalundong.
Kagi Romar, a farmer in Butig, said the farmers were eagerly waiting for the completion of the first-ever solar-powered water system in their town. They never thought government services for farmers, like irrigation, would reach their area.
Butig Mayor, Dimnatang L. Pansar expressed his gratitude towards MAFAR and TFBM for prioritizing the town for the project as it gave thousands of farmers a new lease on life.
“I hope that the municipality of Butig will be able to produce more rice and in the future, we will become one of the major producers of rice not only in Lanao Del Sur but also in the entire BARMM,” He said.
In July this year, Mindanao Development Authority led the opening of the water pipes from solar-powered irrigation units capable of irrigating between 600 to 1,000 hectares of farmlands in Taraka municipality of Lanao Del Sur.