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Agriculture: How Solar Power Impacts Farmers

Written by: Alex Kim & Isabel Kiah

Artist: Isabel Kiah

The “Power of A Solar Light” focuses on the importance of solar energy in off-grid communities within the Philippines. Through creative art pieces, and careful research we will be spotlighting the significance of solar lighting and clean energy. Specifically on how it can continue to grow multiple factors of life in many Filipinos. This includes topics such as education, sustainability, disaster relief and many more.

In this first piece, we delve deeper on the impact of solar electricity on agriculture; questioning why solar energy is so vital to the many Filipino farmers within these communities…  

How are solar lights advantageous in agriculture?

Solar powered lights eliminate the need for the installation of electrical connections, which makes them ideal for rural agricultural regions. They are also designed to withstand various weather and temperature conditions, allowing for safe and consistent performance outdoors. A farmer OML interviewed described that “solar [lighting] is better because it can be used when it’s hot or rainy; gasoline can also be used in both, but can be a little dangerous when it’s raining.” Advanced solar lights can illuminate farmers’ lands for extended periods of time, allowing for increased safety and reduced risks of theft at night.

Why is the ability to work and tend to crops at night important for farmers?

In countries with hot climates like the Philippines, the night’s cool provides better working conditions, as temperatures are more tolerable for the farmers. Additionally, another famer described that she waters her crops at 3AM to keep her crops safe: she described that “if the day/sunlight is hot, it’s not healthy for the plants.” The lower temperatures provided by the night also decreases the likelihood of encountering pests like bees or snakes. However, working at night involves safety risks such as limited visibility (which solar lighting can help mitigate).

How can it be effective in different types of agriculture/work?

Solar lights are effective across diverse agricultural contexts, be it rice farming, forest farming, or fishing. In rice farming, these lights offer crucial field illumination during planting, weeding, and harvesting, enabling farmers to extend their working hours into the night for timely and precise tasks. In forest farming, where crops grow beneath a dense canopy, solar lights penetrate through the foliage, aiding farmers through the precise observations and monitoring they need to complete. Solar lights also enhance visibility for fishermen, making navigation safer and aiding in the attraction of marine life to specific areas. 

How this links to SDG 8 & 2 (Economic growth & zero hunger) 

Supplying solar lights to off-grid rural communities aligns with SDG 8 (Economic Growth) and SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) by increasing their productive output. The provision of reliable energy through solar lights extends working hours, enabling farmers and fishermen to harvest more crops and fish for their families and their businesses. The increased crop yields and enhanced food production thus allow these community members to put more food on their tables while also growing the volume of food they can sell. 

With that, we hope you learned more about solar energy and its impact on agriculture here in the Philippines. 

And don’t forget to watch out for our upcoming “Power of A Solar Light” issues in these next couple of weeks!

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