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PIA Press Release

NIA project ensuring year-round water supply to start soon

by Venus G. Villanueva

Kalibo, Aklan (3 February) -- A project of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) here to ensure a year-round supply of irrigation water to Aklan's rice-producing towns will be started this year, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

According to William Castillo, OIC of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), the project, with an initial funding of P500 million, involves rehabilitation of irrigation facilities to improve agricultural productivity in the barangays under the Irrigation System Operation Efficiency Improvement Project (ISOEIP) of NIA.

ISOEIP is a government strategy stated in the Medium Term Development Plan 2004-2010 that aims to reduce rural poverty, increase agricultural productivity and enhance food security.

This project had been endorsed by the Regional Development Council (RDC).

Last year, the Aklan-Capiz irrigation management office of NIA spent a total of P31.4 million for various irrigation projects in the province including the Panakuyan San Jose Integrated Project in Ibajay, and the Aklan River Irrigation System that will serve farmers in the municipalities of Banga, Kalibo, New Washington, Lezo, Madalag, Malinao, Numancia and Makato.

Communal irrigation systems and communal irrigation projects were also constructed to benefit farmers in Altavas, Tangalan, Buruanga, Libacao, Malay and Nabas.

Nationwide, in anticipation of the El Niņo, NIA is seen as one of the frontline government agencies to address the climatic problem, with the recent reactivation by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the El Niņo Task Force.

The Task Force was reactivated to coordinate the country's response to the unusually dry weather in the first half of the year.

A P1.7 billion fund, drawn from various government agencies, will be used for cloud seeding, construction of shallow wells and distribution of organic fertilizers to rice, corn and value crops farmers. It will also fund the purchase and installation of fish cages for fishpond owners.

NIA will be supporting the initiative by implementing water management measures. (PIA) [top]

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