Drones to water Benguet farms
DRONES may soon water our fields.
Department of Agriculture Manny Piñol during his visit last week announced aerial spraying using drones will be piloted in Benguet.
Piñol said the Japanese manufactured and operated drones can irrigate 1 hectare of farmland in 10 minutes, making the task easier and ideal for the terraced farms in the region.
“This is ideal for the Cordilleras and its terraces,” added Piñol.
The Secretary said the sprayer will make it easier for farmer to spray fields located in the most treacherous of mountainsides.
Last week, Pinol presented to Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso P7.5 million worth of aerial spraying for a 5,000 hectare area, explaining a drone session costs P1,500.
Piñol said the DA will shoulder the entire cost of the pilot drone spray sessions for the province identified vegetable farms but the next session will be shouldered by the farmers using the agency’s Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program.
Drone spraying will be pushed by the DA despite the difficulty of local farmers to accept innovation.
“It is in the mindset of farmers to shun technology, a natural resistance of farmers,” said Piñol.
Last year, the Japanese group had a meeting with the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA), the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) along with the DA to identify areas in Benguet which grows vegetables in terraces as the pilot site for the use of the drone sprayer.
Piñol said drones will not be purchased by the DA saying the deal will be for the Japanese company to become a service provider in the country for the aerial project.
The DA official cited a drone can cost P1 million unit which can be a hindrance in procuring as well as the cost of maintenance, operation and insurance.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol leads the actual drone spraying test in a strawberry farm in La Trinidad, Benguet. A hectare of farmland can be sprayed with a liter of fertilizer in 10 minutes, at P1,500.