MANILA, Philippines — Water impounding facilities would be a better fit for the irrigation needs of farmers instead of building new dams, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) standard bearer Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Monday.
“Trying to solve the issue of irrigation by building dams would be more costly and time-consuming. The need for better irrigation is immediate and therefore calls for a solution that would be faster to deploy. That is why I believe that water impounding facilities fit this requirement,” Marcos said.
According to the 2020 Status of Irrigation Development Report from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), there are 3,128,631 hectares of irrigable area in the country. Of this number, only 2,006,054 hectares or 64.12 percent are being irrigated.
“It is high time to be more aggressive when it comes to our irrigation targets. I am confident that 100 percent coverage of our irrigable areas is feasible. Irrigation is one of the most important components in strengthening the agriculture sector and this will be one of the pillars of my agricultural program,” he added.
Marcos also supported the government’s recent decision to transfer the control of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
He added that since the DA has all the pertinent data, programs, equipment and experts, it will allow both agencies to streamline coordination and fulfill their respective mandates.
“The DA and NIA have a common objective of ensuring food security in our country and transferring the NIA to the DA could enhance food production nationwide. Their integrated programs and interventions would develop the agriculture sector which is key to our economic development,” Marcos said.
He added that the incoming government must provide a holistic program to revive the agriculture sector since this would provide another revenue source to fund projects for the poor. He further added other initiatives to provide aid to Filipino farmers.
“There are so many things that we could do for the agriculture sector. Apart from policy changes, we should offer farmers support by giving them modern post-harvest facilities, credit and infrastructure support through farm-to-market roads,” Marcos added.