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Bohol prov'l agri office gives irrigation materials for farms beyond NIA service

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, October 2 (PIA) --  As a temporary solution to the fast receding water in the irrigation dams in Bohol, which were supposed to serve farmers this cropping season and onwards, the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) is giving irrigation materials that could help bring water to outlaying rice paddies too far for the irrigation water to reach.

During the recent meeting of the Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) to prepare for the El Niño mitigation, Provincial Agriculturist Liza Quirog revealed that with the rice supply shortage leading to a spike in prices, the long dry spell could trigger yet another spike in prices if supply is not assured.

According to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), with the current level of the waters in its Bohol Integrated Irrigation System (BIIS) dams and small Community Irrigation Systems (CIS), they predict that they could only irrigate around 10,357 hectares of prepared rice lands, leaving nearly 28,000 hectares of irrigable lands without water.

In Bohol, NIA keeps an integrated system of dams from Malinao in Pilar, to Bayongan in San Miguel, and then to Capayas in Ubay, and Benliw in Ubay and Zamora Dam in Talibon.

The rest are small community irrigations systems from small water impounding projects, which could be potential sources of additional irrigation water.

NIA is eyeing the introduction of high value commercial crops that are not as water intensive as rice, as an alternative.

The OPA also reported that the Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRICE), and the OPA have allocated rice seeds to some 38,122 hectares of rice lands.

If only 10,357 hectares of this are served with irrigation this cropping season, this leaves 27,765 hectares of rice lands with ready seeds.

But without any assurance of irrigation water, this could potentially affect the chances of a good harvest, even when these are planted with high value commercial crops.

To avert this and secure rice sufficiency in Bohol this cropping season, the OPA has readied 647 water pumps, 5,204 plastic drums for water storage, and 3,513 rolls of 100-meter polyethelyne hoses including its fittings to extend the water service to distant farms that are located far from the main irrigation canals.

According to agriculture authorities, the materials could be given to members of farmer organizations and farmer cooperatives, or to an accredited learning site related to agriculture, which have access to an open water source.

The requesting party should own an existing agricultural area or demonstrate the potential to cultivate at least 250 square meters of land, or a total garden size of 6,250 square meters.

With this, some 647 people’s or farmers organizations and cooperatives or accredited learning areas for agriculture can potentially get a package of one water pump, eight plastic drums for water storage, and five rolls of 100-meter polyethelene hoses and proper fittings, Quirog said.

If the irrigation materials would be insufficient to supply the existing needs of the beneficiary, it is automatically their responsibility to supplement what has been given to them, he added. 

A memorandum of agreement stating these and the responsibilities of parties and the provincial government of Bohol would be signed during the distribution of the materials for irrigation support. (RAHC/PIA-7 Bohol)

PAGASA weather forecaster Leonardo Samar (2nd from left) informing the PDRRMC members of the certainty that the long dry spell associated with the El Nino will begin in late October until the first quarter of next year. With rains unlikely to fall in the next weeks, food sufficiency may suffer if measures are not put in place to mitigate this. (PIA Bohol)

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Rey Anthony Chiu

Regional Editor

Region 7

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