THE National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has assured farmers in Kalinga province that there will be no irrigation water cut-off during the normal two rice cropping seasons this year that will allow farmers to recover from last year’s drop in rice production.
Last year, rice farmers in the province serviced by the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS) were not able to plant during the second cropping calendar because of major rehabilitation works on the canals.
“There will be no water supply interruption or rationing during the summer when NIA usually conducts maintenance work on its irrigation canals,” NIA-Kalinga provincial head Benito Espique said.
He said irrigation water was released only on December 28 last year and went on full blast operation on January 1.
The Provincial Agriculturist Office (PAO) has recorded a decrease in the rice production of Kalinga in 2015 by 17 percent compared to 2014 as a result of the irrigation water cut-off.
Joe Casibang, PAO Rice Program coordinator, said that rice production in the province dropped from 176,000 metric tons in 2014 to 149,000 MT last year.
However, Casibang explained the province’s total rice production for the period was still within the 300-percent rice production efficiency rate assuring sufficient supply of the province’s rice buffer stock.
LEANDER C. DOMINGO