WITH the Cordillera region dubbed as the watershed cradle of the north, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) have allocated a total of P1.6 billion for 2018 to support its operations under the irrigations systems development program.
NIA-Cordillera acting regional manager Engineer Benito Espique Jr. said huge portion of the allotted budget goes to the province of Apayao with P360 million for its much needed repair as one of the national irrigation system.
Ifugao gets P390 million with two line projects for the Alfonso Lista farm irrigation project, P353 million in Kalinga, P147 million in Mt. Province, P175 million in Benguet and P165 million for Abra.
"We hope it can suffice all the projects for the year 2018 with the P300-million increase in budget," said Espique.
"We should supply 2,844 hectares for new areas to provide irrigation and drainage services to presently rain fed areas, idle lands and other identified potential irrigable areas, and 407 hectares restoration area improving existing irrigation systems and address the necessary repair works and the wear-and tear of facilities," Espique added.
During the first stakeholders forum on irrigation development in the province of Benguet attended by the various sectors, irrigation association, Philippine National Police, and religious sectors, the event aims to disseminate and inform all stakeholders of the 2018 projects and plans of the agency as NIA-Cordillera continue to have its series of forum in the different provinces in the succeeding months.
NIA reports among the provinces in the region, Benguet shared the biggest number of farms with 27.5 thousand. The province accounted for 22.9 percent of the total farms in the region where areas under agricultural land comprised 10.8 percent of the total land area of the province as agriculture have been the traditional source of employment for most of the people in the province of Benguet.
Meanwhile, Abra ranked second with 22.7 thousand hectares while Ifugao came in third covering 40.4 thousand hectares.