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PIA Press Release

Bohol nearer goal of rice-granary crown, says vice gov

by Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran City (12 October) -- "WE are moving closer but we are not there yet," hints Vice Governor Julius Caesar Herrera during the presidential commissioning of the P3.6B irrigation facility Bayongan Dam in northeast Bohol.

Herrera was referring to one of the aims of the multi-billion facility set up in Bayongan San Miguel: that is easing Bohol to the position as rice granary in the Central Visayas region.

The dam, which forms third key irrigation infrastructure in the irrigation component of the integrated area development plan, seeks to irrigate at least 10,000 hectares of prime agricultural lands in Bohol.

Herrera, who currently heads the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Committee on Agriculture said Bohol still needs to make up for another 30,000 hectares of arable lands, putting the stress on idle uplands here to engage the people "into such a dream".

Reasoning that the best scenario, even if the new and the earlier irrigation facilities in Malinao, Capayas and Bayongan would deliver the promised sum of 10,000 hectares, is for Bohol to be producing, but not as much.

"Granting that with the ideal conditions, a hectare of irrigated farm yields 120 cavans, the whole area or irrigated lands only produce 1.2M cavans per cropping, he explained.

"With at least 40,000 hectares of ricelands, we can actually elevate our production to match Thailand and Vietnam, and by that time, becoming the food basket in the region is achieved," he said.

Asked if Bohol still has areas where irrigation facilities could be built, the vice governor who heads the League of Vice Governors of the country said Bohol is committing to support the establishment of small water impounding systems (SWIS) to help raise production.

This year, he said he is going to lobby for more funding support to SWIS to perk up rural development in areas.

Moreover, the SP has lobbied for more government subsidies for farmers. The subsidies in certified and hybrid seeds and technology trainings are all incorporated in the Provincial Agriculture Office, he pointed out.

Herrera was just one of Bohol local officials who met President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the unveiling ceremonies after the commissioning activity of the Bayongan Dam, October 12.

He also was one of the local government officials who witnessed the ceremonial turn over of training certificates and farm inputs to even raise the Bayongan farmer irrigators' associations' chances of making good in life as fast.

Together with Herrera in the unveiling ceremonies were Bohol mayors, local government officials of the beneficiary towns of San Miguel, Ubay and Trinidad and farmer beneficiaries. (PIA) [top]

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