• NIA to turn over P291M projects to irrigators in Negros next month

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    BACOLOD CITY: The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) will turnover about P291 million worth of communal irrigation projects to 20 recipient-irrigator’s associations (IAs) in Negros Island Region (NIR) next month.

    NIA Administrator Ricardo Visaya is expected to lead the mass turnover activity to be held at the May’s Organic Garden in this city on May 2.

    NIA-NIR records showed the amount comprises 15 projects in Negros Oriental amounting to P264 million, and another five projects in Negros Occidental worth P27 million benefiting some 3,012 farmer-members.

    The projects, whose constructions started last year, have infrastructure components like irrigation systems, diversion works, canalization, rehabilitation and restoration, the agency said.

    Since the projects are already operational, these will be turned over to the IAs which will then handle the operation and maintenance of the system, it added.

    Engineer Mario Sande, regional director of NIA-NIR, said they were now focused on increasing cropping intensity, generation, and development of new areas, and rehabilitation and restoration of its ir rigation systems.

    Sande said the NIA was committed to go beyond its mandate in helping farmers to find means in availing various government programs and interventions including that for rice production.

    “We are one in support to rice self-sufficiency program, the youngest regional office is keen on the challenge of improving the lives of individual farmers,” he added.

    Aside from the project turnover, NIA and 50 IAs will also sign a modified Irrigation Management Transfer (IMT) contract.

    The contract provides “standard” guidelines on operation and maintenance responsibilities of all parties in conformity with new policy on free irrigation service.

    It specifically covers 9,708 farmers, comprising farmlands in central and south portions of Negros Occidental irrigated by Bago River Irrigation System (BRIS) and Pangiplan River Irrigation System (PRIS).

    Under the free irrigation service program, NIA has adopted a uniform IMT contract among its member association comprising still the incentives and remunerations of the irrigators in the operation and maintenance of their system.

    NIA-NIR said that despite the pronouncement on the “No Irrigation Service Fee” policy, the agency will remain vibrant partner to their farmer-beneficiaries.

    The management will still provide continuous capacity building and training programs to sustain the IA functionality, it added.

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