Irrigation improves rice production

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014


BANSALAN, Davao del Sur -- Farmers here attributed their improved rice yield with the adequate irrigation facility.

"The water supply has now become sufficient for our rice fields. I have experienced harvesting up to eight tons of rice from my area from a previous harvest of 5.5 tons," said Rolando Calisay, member and officer of the Badoma Irrigators Association (IA), whose areas cover the villages of Barayong, Dolo and Marber.

"The construction of the irrigation lining has made farming less laborious as we don't need to wake up at dawn or leave late in the evening just to supply sufficient water to our fields," he said.

The farmers also depended on rainwater to irrigate the fields but also proved insufficient particularly during dry season.

"Before the construction of the facility, some of the water would spill out from the lining and would be wasted," said Loreto Pascua, member of Badoma IA.

"Finally, we now have an irrigation facility that would be of great help to the farmers," he said.

The P12.5-million irrigation project under the Department of Agriculture's Mindanao Rural Development Program (DA-MRDP) covers 405 hectares, benefiting 320 farmer beneficiaries from the town.

"The irrigation facility also supplied water to additional 45 hectares aside from irrigating existing farm areas," said Isabel Camocamo, chief of Davao del Sur Provincial Planning and Development Office.

Aside from increasing the farmers' income and rice production in the province, she added that some farmers who have shifted crops went back to rice production with the completion of the irrigation project.

"Water is critical to rice production and irrigation plays a key role in attaining the government's goal of self-sufficiency in rice for the next three years," said MRDP program director Lealyn Ramos.

As of December 2013, around 12 irrigation subprojects amounting to P108.2 million have been completed, covering 2,142 hectares with 10 projects covering additional 3,745 hectares ongoing.

Farm-to-market roads comprise the bulk of rural infrastructure (RI) subprojects consisting of 253 completed and 106 ongoing subprojects. MRDP is implementing a total of 478 RI subprojects with a total of P4.5 billion including the construction of FMRs, bridges, water supply systems, irrigation and other rural infrastructure.

Ramos added that the irrigation facilities are priority interventions along with other RI subprojects and postharvest facilities to improve income and productivity of the farmers.

"The province provided equity counterpart fund," said Camocamo.

She added that through the partnership with MRDP, they have improved their own monitoring systems particularly in project implementation.

Because of the strict adherence to compliance measures, she said their bidding process improved as well, and at the same time, building the capacity of their technical staff.

The Badoma IA allotted 25 percent of total gross income of their association for the maintenance of the irrigation lining.

According to Calisay, their association came up with a resolution for the said allotment to ensure the project's sustainability, aside from consistently monitoring its condition, "so the community continues to benefit from it."

"This project has really elevated our lives. If I were to rate it, I would give it a 10, in terms of the help it has contributed to us farmers," he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 22, 2014.

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