By Mortz C. Ortigoza
URDANETA CITY – The completion of the Agno River Integrated Irrigation System Extension Project (ARISEP) would better off the economic stocks of the farmers in Eastern Pangasinan, according to the regional director of the National Irrigation Authority in the Ilocos Region.
A huge irrigation canal that waters the rice land of Filipino
farmers. Many farmers in the Philippines harvest only once a year
unlike their counterparts in Vietnam and Thailand that harvest palay
twice or thrice a year because of the abundance of water.
Director John Celeste said that the construction of the ARISEP would be completed in 2018.
With the gigantic irrigation system extension, farmers could harvest up to twice or three times a year from the present harvest of once a year, Celeste explained.
He added however that the ideal harvest would be twice a year.
Farmers asked by Northern Watch said that twice a year harvest is ideal so the land could be allowed to recover its fertility.
In December last year Francis Pangilinan, former government food security adviser, declared during the campaign season that ARISEP was allocated a budget of P2.6-billion for the completion of the irrigation system extension project so it can irrigate 12,800 hectares of rice lands in the 48 cities and towns’ Pangasinan province.
The province plays a third fiddle behind Nueva Ecija and Isabela provinces in producing most rice in the country because half of its 180,000 hectare farmlands are still rain-feed.
Experts said that once the vaunted project would be completed, 10,557 farmers in Pangasinan could spike their economic wellbeing for a second harvest.
The construction of the ARISEP is the Phase III of the three - phase water systems in the province. Phase 1 was the mammoth re-regulating pond that catches water from San Roque Dam. It was financed from a loan the Philippines borrowed from China. The Phase II was the construction of Agno River Integrated Irrigation Project (ARIIP). ARIIP serves up to 30,000 farmers planting on the 12,530 hectare lands in the towns of Asingan, Balungao, Bautista, Binalonan, Calasiao, Laoac, Manaoag, Mapandan, Mangaldan, Natividad, Sta. Maria, San Manuel, San Quintin, Sta. Barbara, Tayug and Villasis and Urdaneta City.
The finalization of the Phase III ARISEP will irrigate agricultural lands in the towns of San Nicolas, Tayug, Sta. Maria, Rosales, Sto. Tomas, and Alcala, and San Manuel town in Tarlac province.
Celeste said the NIA Region 1 office has a one billion pesos budget this year while the ARISEP has nine hundred million pesos budget.