Piñol wants ‘communal’ irrigation facilities for agricultural areas PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 June 2016 13:48

Incoming Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol wants a study on the viability of low-cost communal irrigation projects instead of sustaining costly operations of now less useful facilities.

“We have irrigation facilities that are now inefficient purpose-wise. We need to study now what better benefits can our peasant communities get from communal irrigation facilities,” Piñol said Tuesday.

He cited as an example the huge amounts of money spent for the Malitubog-Maridagao irrigation project in North Cotabato, first constructed using funds from Japan in the early 1990s and has not been finished since despite additional grants from the national government.

“We also have other existing irrigation facilities in other parts of the country whose dikes are already heavily silted. These are the concerns we need to focus our attention on,” Piñol said.

Piñol, himself a farmer, said there are sources of water in hinterlands that can be tapped to irrigate farms in the lowlands and along mountainsides.

“If marginalized farmers are involved in the construction and management of such facilities, they will become more productive,” Piñol said.

Piñol, who had served as governor of North Cotabato province for three terms, lasting from 1998 to 2007, said the construction of smaller, but more viable irrigation facilities is less straining on government coffer.

He said he is confident president-elect Rodrigo Duterte will support efforts to improve the productivity of farmers through communal irrigation initiatives.

Piñol said there is a need to help improve the productivity of farmers in the countryside, particularly in Mindanao, in support of the socio-economic and normalization goals of the southern peace process.