In a bid to strengthen the country’s agriculture industry and support farmers, the Department of Agriculture (DA) closed a deal with the government for a P44-billion loan to complete the proposed solar power plant project.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz signed the Implementing Agreement (IA) on Agricultural Cooperation at 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 Duterte to Israel in 2018.

“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,” Piñol said.

The project will involve the establishment of 6,200 units of the computerized 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.

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.”

“The Israeli government is currently completing the installation of two prototypes of the SPIS — one for a small farm set up of up to five hectares and the other for a big farm set up of up to 100 hectares,” the agriculture chief added.

The prototypes are donations from an Israeli company, which is also one of those interested in undertaking the SPIS projects in the Philippines.

The prototypes are expected to be operational by the end of July.

Harpaz said the agreement also includes the involvement of MASHAV– the agency that offers international workshops and courses.

“Israel has been sharing knowledge and skills for many years in various areas such as agriculture, water management, and innovation through MASHAV, and we are looking forward to deepening our cooperation with the Philippines in the nearby future,” Harpaz explained.

“The signed agreement reflects the good bilateral relations between our two countries.”

Harpaz added that the signed agreement reflects the good bilateral relations between our two countries.

Israel considers the Philippines as one of its closest friends in the region as it was the only country in Asia to give refuge to Jewish refugees fleeing from Europe during World War II.

The Philippines was also among the countries that voted for the creation of the independent State of Israel. 

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