PIA Press Release
Sunday, January 22, 2012
DA allots P594M irrigation, agri projects for PalawanQUEZON CITY, Jan. 22 (PIA) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) allotted a total of P594-million worth irrigation projects, farm machinery and inputs, and fishery initiatives in Palawan, an island province 420 kilometres southwest of Metro Manila.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the projects are aimed at making the province sufficient in rice, major staples, and fishery and marine products.
Alcala said that these include the construction of the P498-M Ibato-Iraan small reservoir irrigation project that will irrigate 1,600 hectares benefiting 425 farmers in Aborlan town, covering four barangays (Sagpangan, Maligaya, Ibato and Iraan).
The DA chief earlier led the groundbreaking of the irrigation project as part of his two-day visit in Palawan. He was joined by Palawan Governor Abraham Kahlil Mitra, DA assistant secretary and national rice program coordinator Dante de Lima, National Irrigation Administrator (NIA) Antonio Nangel, DA region 4B director Cipriano Santiago, NIA 4B acting regional manager Conrado Cardenas, Jr., and Aborlan Mayor Jaime Ortega.
For his part, Nangel said the project involves the construction of a dam (30 meters high and 68.9 meters long) that can store about 2.4 million cubic meters of water.
“We will finish the project in two to three years. Then, we will also develop the reservoir or impounded area into a fish pond and park for eco-tourism. We may also look for partners to develop it into a source of hydro-electric power,” Nangel said.
Alcala also led the inauguration of the P40-M Iwahig Penal Farm irrigation project in Puerto Princesa, which can irrigate 414 hectares. The project, started in July 2011, was completed six months ahead of schedule. Unlike other NIA projects, it was constructed by the inmates themselves. Alcala commended them for their efficient and speedy work.
The Iwahig irrigation system, which draws water from the nearby Balsahan River, will enable inmate-farmers to increase their previous average yield of 4.5 tons per hectare of palay. Aside from commercial rice, they also produce certified palay seeds for their use in succeeding seasons and the excess is sold to farmers in Puerto Princesa. The DA will provide registered seeds which will serve as their source of certified seeds.
Alcala said the DA will continue to partner with the Bureau of Corrections of the Department of Justice to transform idle lands at other penal colonies into productive rice farms.
The DA chief also provided P42-M worth of various agricultural projects, machinery, equipment and inputs to hundreds of Palawan farmer and their respective local government units during farmers’ forum at Aborlan and Iwahig. These included flat bed dryers, greenhouses, a processing center, barangay food terminals, several sets of hermetic cocoon storage, draft animals, and thousands of various planting materials.
Alcala also launched three aquaculture projects, and provided fishing gears and equipment to Palawan fisherfolk, amounting to P13.8 M, at the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Inland Sea Ranching Station (ISRS) in Puerto Princesa.
The projects include increased production of fry and fingerlings for distribution to fisherfolk, expansion of a multi-species marine fish hatchery, and upgrading of the seaweed tissue culture laboratory, all at BFAR-ISRS.
Alcala said the initiatives aim to produce commercial quantities of fry and fingerlings of high value fish species like grouper, snapper, milkfish, and sea bass that will be distributed to small fisherfolk and interested fishfarmers to further increase their income.
The multi-species hatchery is a joint project of the DA-BFAR, Puerto Princesa City, (which provided the land), and aquaculture department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC-AQD), which provided technical assistance and design of the hatchery complex.
Top officials present during the project launch at BFAR-ISRS included Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn, DA-BFAR national director Asis Perez, DA 4B regional director Cipriano Santiago, BFAR 4B Dir. Emmanuel Asis, and SEAFDEC-AQD chief Dr. Joebert Toledo. (DA/RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)