Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More farmers to plant rice in Isabela, thanks to new irrigation structure

SAN ISIDRO, Isabela-Corn farmers in four barangays in San Isidro, Isabela can now shift to rice farming as the Patanad Diversion Dam and Patanad Pumping Station start to operate after years of waiting. This will eventually contribute in the National Irrigation Agency (NIA)’s efforts in increasing rice production in the country.

The Patanad Diversion Dam, which was inaugurated on April 23, 2014, reuses water from Quitabayag Creek that traverses Barangay Patanad to irrigate 200 hectares of farmland that were previously used mostly for corn. The construction of the diversion dam sparked hope among corn farmers who wanted to shift to rice and to those with farmlands in elevated areas.

Part of the project is the construction of the Patanad Pumping Station, which was opened on June 26, 2014, that would irrigate about 250 hectares in four barangays namely Patanad, Camarag, Gomez, and Doña Paulina. It started irrigating 115 hectares of rice land for wet crop 2014 and the rest of the benefitted area will be irrigated on the next cropping season once lands have been converted from corn to rice farming. Prior to the pump system, farmers have been using their own diesel-powered pumps.

Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (MARIIS) Operations Manager Engr. Mariano G. Dancel said that the presence of the project signals the beginning of a more progressive agricultural economy in the municipality. As of December 2013, MARIIS had been irrigating 60% of agricultural lands in the municipality and the construction of the project will surely increase irrigated areas.

Farmer-beneficiaries, as well as local government officials, expressed their gratitude to NIA because of the positive impact of the project to the municipality. San Isidro Mayor Rey Socrates L. Velasco said the project will surely improve the lives of farmers who have long been waiting for irrigation. Barangay Patanad chief Virgilio Castillo on the other hand said that the construction of the diversion dam was the happiest event held in their barangay and that it will truly change their lives.

Engr. Dancel, speaking on behalf of NIA Administrator Florencio F. Padernal, said that farmers could count on the agency to look for more lands to irrigate as it is NIA’s mandate and to provide farmers with improved irrigation service.


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