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PIA Press Release
Sunday, January 29, 2012


Feature: Agrarian communities upbeat on communal irrigation

by Rey Anthony H. Chiu

BOHOL, January 29 (PIA) -- Knowing fully well how irrigation facilities can double rice harvests, farmers from Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs) in Alicia, Balilihan, Catigbian and Danao towns in Bohol lobbied for their respective Communal Irrigation Projects that could ignite their spirits for bountiful harvests.

According to the National Irrigation Authority (NIA), communal irrigation projects (CIP) are small-scale irrigation facilities constructed with the participation of farmer-beneficiaries thru the irrigators associations in identified farm areas.

The CIPs bond farmers to certain levels of cooperation and improve the necessary skills to coordinate, construct and maintain the same, a NIA Irrigation Development Officer explained.

Upon completion of the irrigation projects these are turned over to the associations for operation and maintenance subject to a cost recovery arrangement, NIA added.

Farmers amortize the chargeable cost for a period of 50 years at no interest at a pre-arranged and acceptable re-payment scheme by both parties, NIA said.

Seeing the viability of the farmers’ clamor, the Department of Agrarian Reform-Bohol proposed several communal irrigation systems for foreign funding under its foreign-funded Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project (ARISP III).

DAR-Bohol began the project in Cayacay, Alicia town considered as one of Bohol’s top rice harvesting communities. With the communal irrigation facility DAR said Alicia could double its average harvest per hectare.

The facility can also benefit some 80 hectares of neighboring farmlands, according to the NIA.

Bureau of Agricultural statistics data showed a huge disparity of average harvest yield on irrigated farms compared to rain-fed and upland farms.

Planning, consultations and Feasibility study were done among town leaders and ARC beneficiaries with NIA and DAR at the helm to assist them.

DAR-Bohol said the Cayacay Communal Irrigation Project needs P22.5 million for ARISP III funding and forecasts better harvests once the facility is completed in 2014.

With post qualification ongoing, farmers in Alicia are upbeat especially that Pre-construction conferences have been initiated last month.

Not wanting to be counted out in the tally for spurring agricultural economic activity, local town leaders completed the P5 million Cambaol CIP as its “dip-into-its-pockets” counterpart of the ARISP III agreements.

Local data showed that the Cambaol CIP can also irrigate 50 hectares of rice lands within the town.

In Balilihan which is another ARISP-III beneficiary town, the Balilihan communal irrigation project has also been set up.

Some P12.7 million funds have been spent here, and the ARISP has intimated for the funding of diversion structures, main, lateral canals and structures including some farm ditches.

DAR said this project can service 85 hectares of farmlands covering parts of barangays Sagasa with 55 hectares; Dorol at 20 has; and Sal-ing with 10 has.

The Balilihan LGU has positively concurred to funding supplementary farm ditches as its counterpart.

With these developments, large patches of rain-fed farms can now have better and more reliable water supply to significantly increase production, a farmer has earlier shared.

Developing the Catigbian Irrigation Project on the other hand, is in the works and DAR Central project Monitoring Office has validated the right of way claims when it was submitted late last year.

Updates from DAR-Bohol said the project which is set to irrigate 75 hectares of farmlands in Poblacion and Ambuan could be approved anytime.

Per approved feasibility study, construction cost is a little more than P9M.

Danao town Irrigation development is also being pursued now. Danao is a valley nestled amidst the rolling hills and mountains of Central Bohol.

Its Hibale-Nahud Communal Irrigation Project was identified for development which is capable of irrigating an aggregate expanse of 75 hectares, ARC beneficiary farmers said.

While the feasibility study for the project is still ongoing, ARISP-III has initially assented to the development of diversion structures, water pumps acquisition, main and lateral canals construction, farm ditches and canal structures including culverts and embankments.

Visibly happy with the offer, the local government of Danao initially committed to fund the construction of supplementary farm ditches.

These developments have presented to the people a better reason to work together and mold a communal economic development direction, DAR noted. (mbcn/rahc/PIA-Bohol)

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