Capitol to DA: Provide free irrigation to farmers

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO - The Provincial Government of Pampanga on Monday asked new Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol to provide Kapampangan farmers year-round free irrigation with a commitment to allocate a financial counterpart from the departmentís annual budget.

During the "First Kakao Konek Congress" held at the Heroes Hall here, Vice-Governor Dennis Pineda initiated the presentation of the said proposal in a bid to minimize the production expenses of small time farmers in the province.

"We would want to lessen the burden of our farmers who provide us the food that we eat everyday and we are now seeking the approval of the DA if we can join forces in implementing the programs," Vice-Governor Pineda said, adding that the Provincial Board has already introduced a resolution with regards to the program.

The supposed program, Vice-Governor Pineda explained, will complement the farmers' irrigation fees as well as provide machineries, such as backhoe and loaders, which will maintain the irrigation canals of farmlands.

Governor Lilia Pineda, for her part, said that the provincial government has been implementing programs that assist local farmers, particularly those calamity-stricken, from their production, post-production, maintenance of farmlands and marketing their products.

Governor Pineda, however, disclosed that the provincial government cannot shoulder all the expenses and support from the national government is essential.

"It is a good thing that President Rodrigo Duterte is already formulating a bill which will cover expenses of the farmers," she noted.

Meanwhile, Piñol lauded the initiative of the Capitol which, he said, is "the first local government to offer such 'unusual commitment' for the benefit of the farmers."

He expressed his hopes that all local government units (LGUs) in the country will emulate the measure to boost the country's agricultural sector.

"If all LGUs are as committed as here in Pampanga, it will be easy for us in the national government to cascade our programs," he said.

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