Agriculture is the mainstay of Myanmar’s economy, with agricultural output making up about 36% of its GDP, agricultural product exports generating 14% of its total foreign exchange earnings, and more than 60% of the country's workforce engaged in farming, and nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas, providing the foundation of the national economy, according to global economy statistics. However, power shortage has been one of the biggest obstacles to crop production and livelihoods.
Severe power shortage coupled with disastrous seasonal water scarcity has dealt a heavy blow to the economy, irrigation farming and people’s livelihoods in Myanmar. The continually rising temperature has caused droughts, making crop growing hardly possible in some parts of Magway, where 100% of the farmlands used to be fertile but now only about 40% has farm yields. Farmers who failed to afford the costs, debts and livelihoods had no choice but to abandon farming, and the downturn in the economy and the limitations of the market have forced a large number of villagers to migrate to other countries for a living.
Facing the worsening situation, the government of Myanmar is seeking to tackle decreasing income, shrinking jobs and declining agricultural output caused by power shortage and climate change, by building solar power plants and solar-powered water pump systems. In line with the goals of carbon reduction and carbon neutrality, the "PV+Agriculture" industry is being developed to boost irrigation farming in Myanmar.
Based on the solar-powered water pump system demonstration project, Suntree and the top local partner have entered into collaboration on a government-led field survey and after taking into account the distribution of farmlands, irrigation ditches and the water levels of the Irrawaddy River, have designed a 246kWp (160KW pump) and 115kWp solar-powered water pump system that can irrigate 2,502 acres of farmlands. The country has, therefore, gradually restored agricultural yields and the economy, and realized the harvest of crops in both dry and rainy seasons.
Suntree, as a leading supplier of protective components of solar energy systems, was involved from beginning to end and provided DC circuit breakers, DC fuses, DC surge protectors, DC disconnecting switches, DC convergence boxes and other products for the irrigation works. These products are crucial to the protection, optimization and monitoring of the electric circuits, equipment and systems, assure safe power supply to and sound running of the solar-powered water pump system, resolve power shortage and seasonal water shortage and create an efficient, reliable and environment-friendly green energy system.
The implementation of the project has been widely applauded by local villagers. The Burmese government said, "The solar-powered water pump system plus safe power supply is the most reliable solution to the problem of power and water shortages plaguing irrigation farming at the moment." Irrigation with the solar-powered water pump system will be a powerful driver to ecological preservation and growth of the agricultural economy, facilitate the farming industry and boost the development of agriculture-oriented new technologies.