Pangasinan farmers get free irrigation
LINGAYEN, Pangsinan — Irrigation would now be provided free to farmers in the province.
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and 90 percent of 600 irrigators’ associations entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) providing for free irrigation starting this cropping season.
John Celeste, NIA regional director, said groups with arrears, however, were still required to pay debts incurred before the MOA.
A farmer normally pays 2.5 sacks of palay for irrigation per hectare during the wet season and three sacks per hectare during the dry season.
NIA operates seven irrigation systems in eastern and central Pangasinan, covering 109,227 ha or 60 percent of the province’s potential irrigable area of 181,261 ha.
The upkeep of the irrigation systems, such as routine cleaning of canals, is left to farmers who are paid P150 for every hectare, Celeste said.
Pangasinan is the country’s third biggest rice producer, next to Nueva Ecija and Isabela provinces.
Oftociano Manalo, head of the Pangasinan Federation of Irrigators’ Associations, said the government should allot sufficient funds for the maintenance of irrigation systems. —Gabriel Cardinoza
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