P1.2M released for NIA's priority projects
by EA Abasquez
San Jose, Antique (16 July) -- The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has released P1.2 million for NIA Antique's upgrading of existing irrigation facilities. Civil works like desilting of canals in priority areas of Sibalom-San Jose Irrigation System is in the pipeline and considered a big boost to rice production, disclosed Irrigation Superintendent Jose Estaris, Jr.
Identified areas found to have adversely affected the smooth water delivery services of the system will be given first priority, said Estaris.
The upgrading of irrigation facility is in consonance with the government's efforts to put in place intervention measures for the palay sector to boost production to 19.058 million metric tons (MMT) by 2010 and help drive annual growth rate of agriculture to 5-6 percent over the next three years, the source said.
Executive Director Frisco Malabanan, who oversees the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) Rice Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said the measures form part of DA's five-point program to boost farm productivity and raise rural income, which focuses on infrastructure, technology and extension services, post harvest and storage facilities, rural credit, and new markets here and abroad for local produce.
Complementing the program is the rehabilitation of NIA's facilities covering some 41,209 hectares of farmland, and restoration of its national and communal systems that will generate 55,000 hectares of irrigated lands for the year, Estaris concluded.
Data obtained from the Office of Nicolasito Calawag, Provincial Agriculturist showed that the total rice production in the province from January to May 2007 was 77,803 MT, harvested from 21,445 hectares. (PIA) [top]