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Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol showed the solar-powered irrigation system and the fishponds prototype that will be operating this coming December.
According to Piñol, he will invite President Duterte to present the actual demonstration of the project.
Piñol was grateful for Duterte after appointing him as the secretary of Agriculture. He said all of our wild dreams slowly come true.
During his "Byaheng Bukid, he said that's the time he realized the lack of waters in the rice field. That's also the reason why he came up with this plan with the help of Rocky French, a Filipino-American who designed the solar-powered irrigation system and fishpond.
Read the full statement of Sec. Piñol:
SOLAR-POWERED IRRIGATION, FISHPONDSPROTO-TYPE OPERATIONAL BY DECEMBER
By Manny Piñol
In about two weeks, the first working model of a solar-powered irrigation system and circular fish and vegetable tanks designed by a group of Filipino and American engineers will be operational.
This could mark the start of a revolutionary method of providing water to rice fields and raising Tilapia and growing vegetables using solar power.
As its name suggests, the Solar-Powered Irrigation System will source its power from the sun to run a Grundfos water pump and the cost is less than P5 million with virtually no maintenance cost for the next five to 10 years.
The Solar-Powered Irrigation System could pump out 300 gallons of water every hour to irrigate 100 hectares of rice fields in about 15 days using PVC pipes in the water distribution rather than open canals.
With sufficient irrigation water, the average palay production could increase from 4 metric tons to as much as 6 to 8 metric tons if the farmer uses hybrid rice seeds and sufficient fertiliser.
Beside the solar panels are two circular tanks called the "Circles of Life" measuring 30 feet in diameter each to be filled with water about 3-feet deep.
The first tank will grow Kangkong (water cress) and other vegetables planted in pails hanging by the side of the tank half submerged in water using a modified aquaponics system of planting vegetables.
The second tank will contain about 3,000 Tilapia fingerlings which could be grown for four months, just about the same time, the farmer harvests his rice after planting.
The two tanks will be linked by small plastic pipes which, powered by a small electric motor, will pump water from the fish tank containing Tilapia wastes to the vegetable tank where it will be filtered by the Kangkong and pumped back as fresh water into the fish tank.
The movement of the water from one tank to another will also create an aeration system which would allow intensive growing of Tilapia to be fed by pelletised ground Kangkong leaves added with rice bran, powdered oyster shell and a little oil as binder.
After 4 months the farmer could harvest about one ton of medium sized Tilapia which when sold at P100 per kilo could earn the farmer an additional P100,000.
Too good to be true?
It is true.
In fact, there is already a working model in Coachella Valley in Southern California designed and built by Tilapia farmer Rocky French, a Filipino-American, who has devoted his life to inventing and designing modern technology in Tilapia farming.
French, grandson of an American soldier from Kentucky who fought in the American-Spanish War and who married a girl from Iloilo and spent the rest of his life in the Philippines, is co-owner of the Aquafarm Tech which operates a fishpond in the middle of the Southern California Desert.
The water supplied to the Tilapia ponds of Aquafarm Tech is pumped out from underground 1,200 feet deep by pumps powered by solar panels.
When I visited French's fishpond three years ago, we immediately developed a kinship based on our common desire and dream of making life better for the Filipinos in the rural areas.
It was all wild dreams at first.
But with the victory of Rody Duterte in the Presidential elections last May and my subsequent appointment as Secretary of Agriculture, all of our wild dreams are slowly being realised.
In May of this year, shortly after President Duterte named me as the Agriculture Secretary, I travelled around the country in my "Biyaheng Bukid" and saw many areas needing water for the rice fields.
That was when I asked French to design a Solar-Powered Irrigation System using the same technology he used in providing water to his fishponds in the desert.
Then I asked him to design for me fish tanks which could be built even in the backyards to provide sufficient supply of Tilapia to farming families in the countryside.
This revolutionary project is now taking shape in the middle of a rice field bordering a sugar cane farm in Barangay New Janiuay, M'lang, North Cotabato.
A team of engineers led by American Moses Khuu and assisted by former journalist-turned-farmer Winchell Campos is working feverishly until night time to fish the project.
On Dec. 16, I hope to invite President Rody Duterte to witness the actual demonstration of this project which I believe would not only contribute to greater food production but also address poverty and malnutrition in the countryside.
#Changeiscoming! #PresRodyCares! #DuterteDelivers! #SolarPowerRocks!