A total of P19.4 billion is allocated this year for projects that will benefit farmers under free irrigation programs, an official of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said.

The NIA gives free irrigation to farmers with lower than eight hectares of land under Republic Act 10969 or the Free Irrigation Service Act, NIA Deputy Administrator Czar Sulak said in a virtual presser last June 17.

“Kahit nagkakaroon ng pandemya, wala gaano aberiya ang pagi-implement ng proyekto sa field dahil meron nga kaming issuance of guidance from the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) na pinattern din namin sa guidelines ng DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) on how to implement projects,” said Sulak. 

The NIA official said the agency had completed 63% of all potential areas for irrigation development nationwide, mostly in Central Luzon and the Visayas.

More big-ticket projects are underway, including the use of renewable energy in irrigation systems. An P800-million budget is allocated for solar-powered reservoirs this year, the official said.

Sulak said farmers should coordinate with their respective local government units to benefit from the irrigation program. Farmers with bigger land can also obtain irrigation services for a fee, he said. Kelsey Telo