Rica Anne D. Victoriano
Irrigation plays a huge role in the agriculture system as an increase in agricultural production and productivity depends heavily on the availability of water. However, Philippine Agriculture is burdened with poor irrigation systems, and there are many cases of farming where seedlings are wasted especially during summer because of lack of proper watering.
According to Greg de los Trinos Jr. of EasyIrri Drip Irrigation, a local supplier of drip irrigation systems, growing crops the old way, like sowing in anticipation of the coming rains or planting right after the rainy season, are ways that are too much of a gamble in the modern day.
“Since there is climate change, it is almost impossible for us to predict the weather. Thus, we cannot rely on rainwater to nourish our plantation. It is important to properly irrigate the crops for them to thrive,” he said.
Compared to other methods of irrigation, drip irrigation is the cheapest and considered to be 90% more efficient as there is less water wasted in this method.
Drip irrigation works by applying water directly and slowly to the soil of the plant. It is efficient because the water is absorbed by the soil to have direct access to the plants’ root instead of being wasted by running off or evaporating. Another thing that makes this system efficient is that the water is only supplied to the areas where it is actually needed. It is also easy on the pocket, as initial investment on this is much cheaper.
To prove how low-cost the system is, Greg has also provided cost estimates for some crops. A drip irrigated Tomato farm with 1,000 plants and a 0.5 meter planting distance would only cost around P5,850 while a large dragon fruit farm with 4,000 plants would only amount to an estimate of P18,000, which can be relatively cheaper than paying for labor cost on a daily basis in a span of a year.
The drip technology would also be effective in saving cost for fertilizers since fertilizers can be mixed through the irrigation water, This method does not just directly deliver the nutrients to the active roots of the plant but also lessens the wasted fertilizer compared to when manually done.
Having an efficient irrigation system like this would not only benefit the farmers for allowing lesser cost and higher yield, but also the consumers. It will create an effective chain reaction where an increase in the production due to heightened productivity will result in a much lower cost of various farm produce for consumers to purchase.
Greg first started developing his drip system in 2002 and was given a grant of 500,000 by Bureau of Agricultural Research in 2013 because of the potential of his improvised drip technology.
Since then, he has been constantly improving his drip technology through the use of own- manufactured dripper and other attachments needed for installation of the drip technology– making it as long lasting and efficient as the imported ones that tend to be expensive.
From Mr. Greg de los Trinos’ ‘Drip Irrigation’ talk at the 3-day AANI Agri-Bazaar Cum Agri-Kapihan that was held at the Promenade Lane at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.