Jaro, Iloilo City – The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) here distributed water pumps to six federations of Irrigators’ Associations (IA) in Iloilo Province on May 19, 2016. This is NIA’s initiative to help farmers adapt to the effects of the very strong El Niño that hit the country.
The 39 pumps that were distributed will serve more than 10,000 farmer-irrigators in almost 15,000 hectares of rice fields in the towns of Calinog, Pototan, San Miguel, Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara, Leon, Tigbauan and Oton. Also, farmer-irrigators from Dumangas, New Lucena, Mina and Barotac Nuevo will benefit from said pumps. The same areas will also be the beneficiaries of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) once it is completed.
“The pumps that were distributed to the farmer-irrigators were sourced from NIA-JRMP II funds to help cushion the effects of the El Niño” explained Ivy Rose Doplayna, Senior Irrigator’s Development Officer.
She further emphasized that while NIA is waiting for El Niño funds from the central office, JRMP II, under the leadership of Regional Manager Gerardo P. Corsiga, took the initiative to purchase and distribute the pumps before the onset of rice planting in the wet season.
Weather bureau forecasted that the effect of the drought will last until the end of second quarter this year and will delay cropping calendar of farmers for the wet season.
In April, the entire province of Iloilo was placed under state of calamity due to El Niño.Prior to this, seven towns including Calinog and Sta. Barbara declared a state of calamity due to the lingering drought. Reports from the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) revealed that incurred losses in rice production during the first four months of the year amounted to 1 billion pesos.
“Nagapasalamat guid kami sa NIA para sa mga pumps nga ila ginhatag. Dako ini nga bulig para sa amon nga mga mangunguma labi na guid sa mga ara sa downstream area (We are thankful to NIA for the pumps that were distributed to us. This is a big help for us, farmers, especially those in the downstream areas)”, expressed Rolando Pinuela, Jalaur-Proper Federation President.
Memorandum of Agreements were executed by NIA and the individual beneficiaries for the pumps distributed to them.
Hopes are high for the farmer-irrigators that with the implementation of Iloilo’s biggest irrigation project – JRMP II, this year, effects of drought will no longer hamper rice and agriculture production. /JP (Steve E. Cordero, PRO-C)