• JICA launches $60-million irrigation support project

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    In support of the Philippines’ effort to achieve rice self-sufficiency, the Japanese government’s development assistance arm recently launched the $60.5-million National Irrigation Sector Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (Nisrip).

    In a statement, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said that the project is designed to increase rice productivity, and establish sustainable operation and maintenance system by upgrading and rehabilitation of irrigation facilities, strengthening of irrigators’ associations and provision of agricultural support.

    The project, JICA added, will help spur job creation by raising agriculture productivity, and boost the country’s agribusiness sector. Industry data showed that the Philippines’ agriculture sector employed one-third of the country’s population.

    “Through this project, JICA envisions to contribute to the Philippines’ food security, and improve the living standards of more than 20,000 Filipino farmers,” said JICA Senior Representative Sachiko Takeda.

    Nisrip also aims to restore about 11,501 hectares and rehabilitate 24,169 hectares of agriculture lands.

    Eleven national irrigation systems in 10 provinces will be covered by the project, including the Malatgao river irrigation system (RIS) in Palawan, which was recently damaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

    Other systems include the Madongan and Solsona RIS (Ilocos Norte), San Fabian RIS (Pangasinan), Porac-Gumain RIS (Pampanga), Dumacaa RIS (Quezon provice), Santa Barbara RIS (Iloilo), Muleta RIS (Bukidnon), Mal RIS (Davao del Sur), Lambayong RIS (Maguindanao-Sultan Kudarat) and Simulao RIS (Agusan del Sur).

    Once the irrigation facilities are rehabilitated and improved, farmers would be able to plant and harvest twice a year.

    Since 1974, JICA has supported several Official Development Assistance projects with NIA, including the Groundwater Irrigation Project (1974-80), Bohol Irrigation Project I and II (1983-2009), Central Luzon Irrigation Project (1998-2009) and the Bago River Irrigation System Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (2002-10), to name a few.

    Early this year, JICA also launched a technical cooperation project with NIA, which focuses on improving operations and maintenance of the country’s national irrigation systems.

    Irrigation plays a crucial role in achieving the Philippine government’s rice self-sufficiency targets under the Food Staples Sufficiency Program.

    James Konstantin Galvez

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