Saturday, July 20, 2024

NIA Highlights 3 Milestones For Farmers Under PBBM Admin


NIA Highlights 3 Milestones For Farmers Under PBBM Admin


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The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has highlighted three milestones benefiting farmers under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

During the Huntahan Media Forum on Wednesday, NIA Administrator Eduardo Guillen said the administration was able to advance its programs, despite the minimal funding, through its collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Guillen cited as a “paradigm shift” the convergence efforts in flood control and effective water management that would enable the Philippines to achieve rice self-sufficiency under the Marcos administration.

The convergence program between NIA and the DPWH will integrate flood control projects into other structures needed for irrigation.

The DPWH has about PHP349 billion for its flood control programs for 2024.

“Imbes na small water-impounding project, gawin mong water management flood control project. So, masasabi ko po na ito po’y napakalaking bagay at ito po ay game changer ng agriculture (Instead of a small water-impounding project, you can make it a water management flood control project. So, I can say that this is a huge thing, and this is a game changer in agriculture),” he said.

Guillen underscored the importance of such convergence projects, which would help boost irrigation facilities, such as diversion dams and water-impounding projects.

Irrigation facilities will also help resolve low productivity and eventually realize the administration’s food security targets, he added.

Guillen also cited efforts to acquire additional funds for new irrigation projects and avoid project delays.

He said he has met with lawmakers to secure endorsements for the inclusion of its projects in the National Expenditure Program (NEP), in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Last year, the NIA requested a PHP80 billion budget for 2024, or double the PHP40 billion for 2023.

Only PHP70.22 billion was approved, with PHP28 billion utilized for new solar-powered irrigation projects that are expected to improve rice production in the country.

On Monday, the President inaugurated the PHP65.77-million Cabaruan Solar-Powered Pump Irrigation Project (SPIP) in Quirino town, Isabela, the biggest solar-powered pump irrigation system in the country.

Guillen also cited rice contract farming as another milestone for NIA.

The scheme aims to accelerate and sustain quality rice production and attain rice sufficiency and security by providing necessary agricultural inputs and capital to enhance farmers’ productivity and competitiveness.

Under contract farming, farmers earn a higher income through lower production costs with the help of government support, including seeds, fertilizers, and mechanization.

To increase profit, Guillen said, farmers also “capture” the whole value chain of rice production by engaging not just as farm producers but also as entrepreneurs.

He said this also helps change the “wrong policy” that farmers only earn from palay procurement.

“Dito ho sa programa natin sa NIA, hindi ho ganun. Lahat ng (Here in NIA, it’s not like that. The whole) value chain program process, lahat ng steps, ay kikita ang magsasaka (farmers earn from all of the steps of the whole value chain program process),” he said.

The NIA is set to provide rice to be sold at PHP29 per kg. in select Kadiwa outlets in the country in August through the rice contract growing program. (PNA)