Climate Smart Solar Irrigation to meet challenges of climate change: Researchers urged

Environment, Forest and Climate Change secretary Md. Mostafa Kamal has urged researchers to evolve technology to convert the conventional power tillers into solar operated power tillers.

“There are thousands of power tillers across the country, if we can introduce solar-power tillers, it will save huge liquid fuels as well as create big impact on environment through reducing carbon emission”, he said while addressing a virtual workshop tiled: Climate-Smart Solar Irrigation Technology in Bangladesh” on Wednesday.

The virtual function was organised by Curtin University, Australia, where a presentation was made on a research project titled “Innovating Nonmonetary Interventions for Climate-smart Agriculture: An ADOPT Model for Technology Diffusion” was introduced.

It was also addressed by Professor Dr. Therese Jefferson, Head, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Curtin University, Australia, Mohammad Alauddin, Chairman of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda), Professor Dr. Mohammad Jahangir Alam, Department of Agribusiness and Marketing, Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Aslam Perwaiz, Deputy Executive Director; Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), Bangkok, and Dr. Habib Rahman, Team Leader and Senior Lecturer, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Curtin University, Australia.

Professor Dr. A.S.M. Maksud Kamal, pro-vice chancellor of Dhaka University, presided over the workshop while Suddha Rafiq conducted the function.

Welcoming the idea of Nudge Technology, a nonmonetary intervention theory for popularising the climate-smart solar irrigation pump system, the environment secretary said, the researchers, in addition to solar pumps, should work for adopting this technology for solar power tiller as well.

He said the number of power tillers is much higher than the fuel-run pumps. “If we can use the solar system for the power tillers instead of diesel, it will give much more benefits to the farmers”.

He observed that where there is use of one pump, the farmers use 5-6 tillers for agriculture purposes. “We need to integrate the solar pumps with solar tillers”.

Mostafa Kamal also said there is no doubt that solar powered irrigation systems can meet the challenge of climate change.

He said it is less costly in comparison with the diesel-run irrigation pumps. But the farmers have to learn about its benefits. Otherwise they will not accept it instead of the conventional diesel-run pumps.

He said small solar units, instead of grid-connected solar systems, is very effective in a situation when the rural areas are hit by natural calamities like cyclones.

“It takes a huge time to restore our electricity system when any disaster takes place”, he observed.

He said the government has a commitment to reducing emissions. “But we are far behind the western countries for clean energy.

He also said the solar irrigation process will mitigate the greenhouse gas emission.

Sreda chairman Mohammad Alauddin said about 2000 irrigation pumps have been installed across the country.

But the biggest challenge is that these pumps are being operated for four months of a year while the rest of the time these pumps have to remain inoperative. The government is taking a policy to utilize the solar of the remaining months for the national grid.

Making his presentation titled: A Climate Innovation Challenge Project on Innovating Nonmonetary Interventions for Climate-smart Agriculture: An ADOPT Model for Technology Diffusion, Habbur Rahman said his project has planned to conduct a survey on the farmers as why they are not accepting the solar irrigation pumps when it is least cost.

Ashok Kumar Biswas, deputy director of the Agriculture Extension Department, making a presentation on the solar irrigation project of his department, said that repair of solar irrigation pumps and accessories, running the pumps in dry season when surface water decreases have been the biggest challenge in the scheme’s implementation.

Source: United News of Bangladesh