Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Irrigation agency needs P63B to boost rice production

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) on Wednesday said it needs P63 billion in the run-up to 2013 to attain the country's rice sufficiency status by then.

NIA Administrator Antonio Nangel said that the amount will enable the agency to irrigate an additional 250,000 hectares in three years and produce an incremental output of at least 3.8 million metric tons (MT) of palay.

To achieve self-sufficiency status by 2013, Nangel said the country would have to produce 21.12 million MT of palay. 

For 2011, the budget approved for NIA under the National Expenditure Program was P12.79 billion. The proposed budgetary requirement for 2012 and 2013 will be P30 billion and P20 billion, respectively.

The government targets to generate 46,000 hectares of new serviceable area in 2011, 100,000 to 120,000 hectares in 2012, and another 100,000 hectares in 2013.

Nangel pointed out that the target is feasible since the agency is now looking at other strategies to provide water for farms that badly need irrigation.

"We're looking at small water impounding systems as well as the construction of shallow tube wells that will deliver water to far-flung areas and those that are near sources of water supply," he said.

With a budget of P12.79 billion, the agency could generate 23,510 hectares of new areas, restore irrigation to 22,310 hectares, and rehabilitate irrigation facilities in 144,730 hectares of farmlands all over the country, Nangel said.

Of the budget approved for the agency for 2011, some P5 billion would be used to fund foreign-assisted projects while locally funded projects have been allocated P7.75 billion.

Nangel said that from 2012 to 2016, the agency would need P80 billion to generate 234,740 hectares of new areas, restore irrigation to 139,730 hectares, and rehabilitate irrigation facilities in 104,800 hectares of farmlands all over the country.

Under the 2011-2016 Rice Self Sufficiency Plan drafted by government, the Philippines is targeting to produce 17.46 million MT in 2011, 19.2 million MT in 2012, 21.12 million MT in 2013, 21.76 million MT in 2014, 22.41 million MT in 2015, and 23.08 million MT in 2016.

The projected palay requirements of the Philippines are 20.68 million MT in 2011, 20.9 million MT in 2012, 21.11 million MT in 2013, 21.56 million MT in 2014, 22.02 million MT in 2015, and 22.49 million MT in 2016. — JE/JA/VS, GMANews.TV

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