DAVAO CITY — The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has partnered with an Israeli agricultural company to develop a water system for drinking and irrigation for possible use in remote areas in Mindanao and Palawan.
In a statement over the weekend, MinDA said it has also been working with the Department of Interior and Local Government for the design of the technical and financial plan for the solar-powered water supply and desalination plants for Mindanao villages.
Under the Mindanao Rural Water Supply Program, the statement said Secretaries Emmanuel F. Piñol, chair of MinDA and Eduardo M. Año of the Interior and Local Government department have declared their support for the project, which will have initial funding of about $500 million which local government units (LGUs) can access from local banks.
“We are designing a new scheme in the financing of LGU projects where they can access loan funds through a partnership between the foreign funders and local banks,” said Mr. Piñol after meeting with the representative of the LR Group, the Israeli company, last week to discuss the proposal.
The statement said the company offered to build 6,200 solar-powered irrigation systems, providing a financing scheme offering payments over 15 years with a 3-year grace period.
The company demonstrated two prototypes in Lumban, Laguna, which can be monitored digitally and come equipped with a so-called “fertigation” system — supplying simultaneous fertilization and irrigation. It donated the prototypes when Mr. Piñol was still the Secretary of Agriculture.
The rollout of the program, which is expected before the end of the year, will come after the financial and technical package is finalized. At that point LGUs of Mindanao and Palawan will be invited to join the program.
The statement said Mr. Piñol identified water, power and rural infrastructure as the most urgent needs of the agricultural sector in Mindanao and Palawan. — Carmelito Q. Francisco