Free irrigation for farmers by next year—Piñol
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said rice farmers will get free irrigation by next year, following the senate finance committee declared its support for the undertaking.
“President Rody Duterte’s commitment of free irrigation for the country’s rice farmers will certainly be implemented starting 2017,” Piñol said in a post on his Facebook page. “The doubts and uncertainties are over. It will be the first time in the history of Philippine agriculture when irrigation water will be provided free for the Filipino rice farmers.”
Piñol said the senate finance committee declared full support for free irrigation for the country’s 2.5 million rice farming families. Senators Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar, Ralph Recto, JV Ejercito, Francis Pangilinan, Miguel Zubiri, and Risa Hontiveros committed to adding P4 billion in the budget of the Department of Agriculture to cover the irrigation service fees collected from farmers and used to pay for salaries and wages of National Irrigation Administration personnel.
Piñol said Legarda the free irrigation commitment will require the approval of Villar’s bill on free irrigation.
According to Piñol, Filipino farmers need to spend P3 on water to produce a kilo of palay. In the rice exporting countries of Vietnam and Thailand, irrigation is free.
For the bill to become a law, it must be approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the president of the republic.