Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said solar-powered agricultural equipment had the potential to help Cambodia’s farmers withstand the impacts of climate change and that it could also reduce production costs and greenhouse gas emissions for the Kingdom’s agriculture sector.

Sakhon said on November 10 that the solar-powered equipment in question included water pumps, egg incubators and dryers.

He noted that solar-powered water pumps were perfect for smaller scale irrigation of crops for families and that they can have a pumping power of two to five cubic metres per hour and can even operate in ponds at depths of up to 15m or 20m. The equipment – which has a life of 10-15 years on average – pumps water at night and charges itself during the day.

Solar egg incubators, on other hand, are designed to operate while storing energy at the same time and can do so due to their overall lower demand for energy. They keep eggs at a temperature of 37.5 degree Celsius with 65 per cent humidity around the clock by drawing power directly from the solar panels during the day and from storage batteries at night.

Veng Sakhon said the integration of these renewable energy technologies into agricultural production and processing is the best option available for achieving reduced production costs while tackling the problem of climate change and helping Cambodia to meet its climate commitments by eliminating the environmental pollution of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Every country in the world wants to transition to renewable, green and clean energy technologies and they need to be promoted together as they will all be a part of solving the emissions puzzle.

“The Agriculture Engineering Department of the General Department of Agriculture will cooperate with the private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders to widely promote the adoption of renewable energy technologies in the Kingdom to benefit our farming families and the national economy,” he said.

Sok Pros Touch, a farmer in village II of Treng Trayoeng commune in Kampong Speu province’s Phnom Sruoch district, said on November 10 that the solar panels he had acquired were providing him with electricity in a much more convenient manner than a diesel-powered generator.

“My home sits in the middle of about 2ha of land that I farm. I grow various crops for daily income such as eggplants, radishes, carrots and other vegetables. I like to use solar energy because it is easier and I don’t have to pay an electricity bill every month. And when there is a power outage for my neighbours I can just ignore it because I have my solar panels,” he said.

Ho Darina, a resident of Phnom Penh, said he spent a lot of money installing solar energy at his home to use as a reserve during power outages though he admits the amount it costs can vary greatly depending on your actual power needs. He says it will take some time for his energy savings to equal his installation costs, but he’s confident that day will come eventually.