Making Renewable Energy Technologies to Farmers, Fisherfolk

(Image from Last August 31, 2021, the Center for Empowerment, Innovation and Training on Renewable Energy (CentRE), together with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Philippines, and other partner organizations and agencies, conducted the Dialogue-Forum on Renewable Energy Program for the Agri-Fisheries Sector (REPAFS).

Based on the briefer prepared by CentRE, the REPAFS is anchored from several laws. These laws have provisions that mandate the formulation of the REPAFS. The Republic Act 8435 or the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997 is a policy instrument defining measures to modernize Philippine agriculture for the country, that includes rural electrification using non-conventional energy sources. The Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization (AFMECH) Law or RA 10601 covers the promotion of the use of renewable and non-energy sources for agricultural machinery. On the other hand, the Renewable Energy Act (RA 9513) mandates the continuous development of renewable energy and technology for agricultural operations through research.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) then released a Joint Memorandum for the formulation and implementation of the REPAFS last August 2020 signed by DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi and DA Secretary William Dar. Subsequent memorandums were also released by the said agencies (DA Memorandum Circular No. 29, 2020, DA-DOE Memorandum Circular No. 2021-02-001).

WeGen supports the REPAFS because we believe that integrating renewable energy (RE) in the agri-fishery sector can help boost production and income for Filipino farmers and fisherfolk. Using renewable energy technologies in agriculture and fisheries can enable Filipinos to improve their means of livelihood and make them sustainable and climate-adaptive/resilient.

Solar energy and solar PV technologies in particular can power different equipment and tools that farmers and fisherfolk need but cannot immediately access because they require often heavy financial requirements. Fuel like gasoline and kerosene can also be very expensive and have bad effects on the environment.

Some technologies that can help farmers:

· Solar-Powered Irrigation System

· Biomass Gasifier

· Wind Pump

· Small-Powered Poultry Egg Incubator

The REPAFS currently focuses on the small-scale application (below 100 kW) of the four (4) renewable energy sources, namely biomass, solar, wind, and hydro. The RE technology has three (3) major applications: thermal (e.g., heating, drying), mechanical (e.g., pumps, mills), and electrical (i.e., powering of machinery and lighting).

Access to better processing technology like renewable energy technology can help increase the productivity of farmers, and help fisherfolk save on fuel costs. This will lead to higher incomes that will enable farmers and fisherfolk to improve the quality of life of their families and communities.

Renewable energy technologies like solar are important tools for the development of the agri-fishery sector. Not only this, but their wide use will also contribute to climate change mitigation efforts and raise public awareness on the benefits and possibilities brought about by using RE technology. These efforts can significantly help in attaining food security especially in the context of climate change as well as the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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