THE Department of Agriculture will soon install solar-powered storage in food production areas to help farmers maintain the quality of agricultural produce and prevent post-harvest losses.
This is after the Department of Agriculture (DA) teamed up with Next Agri Corp. Philippines Inc. and Ecofrost Technologies India.
“We welcome this innovative and inclusive technology that can be adopted anywhere in the Philippine countryside, simply with the aid of renewable solar energy,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a press release.
According to Dar, the solar-powered unit, the first-ever in the Philippines, will entail no additional cost for power expenses in storing their produce, and can be easily installed in remote areas without access to electricity.
“Like in other developing countries, the Philippine agriculture sector has been suffering from high post-harvest losses. In high-value crops alone, the losses can easily reach 20 to 40 percent,” Dar said.
In recent years, DA said farmers in rural and remote islands have been unable to preserve their produce due to a lack of cold-storage facilities, forcing them to sell at lower prices to middlemen and loan sharks, and often getting lower than 50 percent of their actual produce value.
“Many of the off-grid rural and remote locations of the Philippine archipelago, where agriculture, fisheries and allied activities are the main livelihood are suffering from unreliable supply of electricity and power outages,” the DA reported.
DA cited the increasing climate change risks and frequent natural disasters like typhoons, floods, droughts etc. as factors exacerbating post-harvest problems and pain points of small farmers.
On-site cold-storage facilities will help to build resilient Filipino farming communities in reducing food and income losses when natural disasters like typhoons, floods and droughts occur, the agriculture department added.
Dar said the “challenge is to make the facility affordable and sustainable, and to offer after-sales service, which should be a requisite for all agri-fishery equipment manufacturers, distributors and service providers.” (JOB)