NIA ready to enforce irrigation masterplan by 2017

The country is gearing up to implement starting next year a 10-year masterplan meant to provide irrigation to an additional 576,000 hectares arable lands in the country at a cost of Php390 billion.

National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Peter Tiu LaviAa said his agency had covered 57 percent of the total 3.2 million hectares of irrigable area in the country. This is estimated at 1.824 million hectares.

"In the 10-year masterplan, our target is to increase this to 75 percent of the 3.2 million hectares," he told reporters, noting the projects involve restoration and rehabilitation of existing irrigation systems and opening new irrigated areas.

LaviAa said these irrigation projects and systems were located nationwide.

He added bulk, or 99 percent, of irrigated areas were rice crop area.

"We will not be able to achieve our target of rice self-sufficiency without irrigation," he noted.

LaviAa further said China, Japan, South Korea and multilateral agencies had expressed support to the country's irrigation masterplan.

For one, the NIA has been securing a Php 42.6-billion loan from the Chinese government for six flagship irrigation projects.

"Of the six projects, two are already finished in the feasibility studies with NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) and NEDA is ready to discuss with the Chinese Embassy," he said.

The administrator added the feasibility studies of two other projects are estimated to be completed by June 2017 while that of another project in the next few months. The feasibility study of another project is being updated.

Further, LaviAa said the country has also ongoing partnerships with the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and United Nations Development Programme.

Source: Philippines News Agency