The Philippines and Israel, one of the most advanced countries in agriculture, have forged an agreement on agricultural cooperation which would pave the way for the introduction of new farming technology in the Philippines, bannered by the proposed P44-B Solar-Powered irrigation Project.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz yesterday signed the Implementing Agreement on Agricultural Cooperation in the DA Central Office in Quezon City.
The IA on Agricultural Cooperation is the final output of a series of negotiations between Israel and Philippines which started during the visit of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to Israel last year.
The banner program under the agreement is the transfer of technology, funding and establishment of Solar-Powered irrigation Systems all over the country funded by a long-term loan of P44-B being offered by the Israeli government.
The project will involve the establishment of 6,200 units of computerised Solar-Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS) intended to irrigate 500,000 hectares of rice farms and other high-value agricultural products over the next three years.
The project will also include the introduction of the “Fertigation” technology where the irrigation systems will allow the application of fertilisers and other farm inputs which would be mixed with irrigation water.
All the SPIS units will be interconnected with a computer program which would allow the DA Central Office to monitor the performance of each system all over the country.
The Israeli government is currently completing the installation of two prototypes of the SPIS – one for a small farm set up of up to 5 hectares and the other for a big farm set up of up to 100 hectares.
The prototypes are donation from an Israeli company which is one of those interested in undertaking the SPIS projects in the Philippines.
The prototypes are expected to be operational by the end of July.
Ambassador Harpaz said the IA on Agricultural Cooperation will strengthen the relationships between the Philippines and Israel.
Israel considers the Philippines as one of its closest friends in the region because it was the only country in Asia which gave refuge to Jewish refugees fleeing from Europe during WW II. The Philippines also voted for the creation of an independent state of Israel. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol