Irrigation repairs seen to delay rice planting
URDANETA CITY — Seven towns in Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija provinces were forced to suspend planting rice for six months starting in November due to irrigation repairs, and this would mean a production loss of 12,500 metric tons of palay for 4,000 farmers.
The construction of a major intake gate of the lower Agno River irrigation system forced the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to suspend irrigation services for 2,500 hectares of rice land in Rosales, Alcala, Sto. Tomas and Bautista towns in Pangasinan, San Manuel and Moncada towns in Tarlac, and Cuyapo town in Nueva Ecija.
NIA Ilocos region manager, Vicente Vicmundo, said that if the suspension is done now, the work would be completed in June. But completion would take three years if the agency continued releasing irrigation water for this planting season, he said.
The gate is part of the P3.6-billion improvement project of the entire system.
Vicmundo said the affected farmers had consented to the suspension of services and had planted mongo or corn which did not require too much water.
He said improved irrigation can allow some farms to be planted with rice three times a year. — YOLANDA SOTELO
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