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PIA Press Release

NIA Samar chief pushes irrigation projects for food security

By Ninfa B Quirante

Catbalogan, Samar (10 November) -- The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Engineer Amadeo Montejo sees the need to construct irrigation systems and rehabiliate damaged ones to push for food security in the province.

"After some time, population will double and we should prepare now," Montejo told PIA.

As such, NIA is on its toes on preparing proposals for some potential irrigable areas in Samar.

Presently, it is supervising the on going construction in Basey area.

"Basey has a three-thousand hectare irrigation project and early in 2011, we will be able to finish the project for an initial one thousand hectares, " declared Montejo.

The project is will service the areas of Barangay Mabini, Guirang and Inuntan with vast land area for rice, the NIA chief said.

In addition, they have also constructed an-8 kilometer access road and a steel bridge.

"As to rice production, Samar can only harvest 30 to 50 bags of rice per hectare, so that we can't even feed the whole province," he sadly noted.

"This is so because we are just dependent on rains, if we can irrigate the rice fields then we can harvest a hundred bags per hectare," he added.

"If we can produce at least a hundred bags per hectare, then we are on our way to rice self-sufficiency," he analyzed.

After Basey Montejo said that he has irrigation projects in line for Sta Rita to service some 900 has; Calbiga for 950 has and Lale in Pinabacdao for some 700 has.

NIA is also eyeing the Tarangnan, Gandara rice area which is always flooded.

Montejo said he has prepared an ambitious project proposal to drain excess water for the ric fields.

"The project has to be hatched today for future use, we can not start planning when the problem on food consumption is already in our heels," he stressed.

"The country's population is increasing and planners and policy makers in the government should act now, while there is still time."

Montejo is calling the cooperation of the local chief executives for their support to the projects. He also encouraged the farmers to sweat it out and not to rely too much on dole outs or cash assistance from the LGUs.

Samar province with apopulation of 695,149 (2007 NSO) has approximately some 37 thousand potential rice field and if it will be utilized to the hilt, the province will then be harvesting some 3.7 M bags in one cropping season, and doubled for two seasons. (PIA-Samar) [top]

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