February 28, 2024

BANGUED, Abra – At least 149 farmers from four villages in four towns of this province are benefitting from the P20-million irrigation project turned over last week by the government through the National Irrigation Administration Cordillera.

Farmer-beneficiaries such as Arnel Valera, president of the Barangay Binasaran Farmers Irrigators Association Inc. in Malibcong, said irrigation has enabled them to plant twice a year since last year, when the NIA project began.

“We are not so hard up with the water we need for the farm. With the irrigation provided by the NIA, we thank God for the benefit. We hope that more projects will come so that the entire barangay will be irrigated,” Valera said.

He said for every hectare of land planted with rice, a farmer could harvest at least 30 sacks or double the amount with the two cropping seasons, and constant water supply also makes vegetable growing possible.

Following the irrigation project turnover in their village, Valera assured his 32-member association will take care of the project as it will not only benefit their families but the community as a whole.

Other beneficiaries are the Upper Taduan Agabaab Farmers Irrigators Association in Luba, Abra, with 11 hectares of irrigation; the Pawan Nagtipulan Lagangilang Farmers Irrigators Association whose members own collectively 15 hectares; and the Barangay Villa Mercedes Farmers Irrigators Association in San Quintin which also owns 15 hectares of irrigated land.

Valera’s group, meanwhile, farms on a 15-hectare irrigated land.

Engr. Benito Espique, NIA-CAR director, said the irrigation projects “are in support of the national food production program to increase food production by increasing the farmlands, especially in rice-producing areas like here in Abra.”

He said the region’s farmland potential is 185,000 hectares with about 92,000 already irrigated.

For 2024, he said NIA-CAR has asked for P1.9 billion for irrigation projects, with the bulk of the amount going to Kalinga, the rice granary of the Cordillera. – PNA