The National Irrigation Administration – Cordillera (NIA – CAR) said that as of December 31. 2023, irrigation development in the province of Benguet posted at 63.86 percent accomplishment, a two percent increase compared to 2022’s 61.78% total development. In a status report presented during the 33rd General Assembly of the Benguet Farmer’s Federation of Irrigators Association Inc. (BFFIA), NIA Benguet Provincial Head Engr. Godofredo Velaque reported a total of 16, 442.29 hectares across the province have been developed while some 9,303.72 ha. still to be develop as service areas. The province has a total of 25,746 potential irrigable area.

For CY 2024, Velaque disclosed that his agency has been given an allocation amounting to P228 million for its 47 programmed projects to include five solar pump irrigation systems. In an interview, Velaque, said the five possible
locations for the establishment of groundwater pump irrigation projects or solar power-driven pump irrigation are in Kapangan, Mankayan, Kabayan, La Trinidad, and Tuba. In span of two years (2022-2023, NIA-CAR completed a total of 44 solarpowered irrigation projects in the province.

Furthermore, the agency is exploring the possibility of constructing a small impounding dam in Buguias to conserve water for irrigation during the rainy season to be used by the farmers. As of this year, there were 15,661 farmers who benefited from the irrigation projects implemented, wherein these projects generated a total of 8, 529 jobs region-wide. “With the efforts of the province, of course with the assistance and support of our regional office, we are trying to do our best so that we can address all our deficiencies when it comes to the irrigation in the provicne,” Velaque

Despite the challenges, NIA is exploring various initiatives to address the irrigation shortage, the official said. As  irrigation development continues, La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda stressed the importance of protecting the environment. “We should preserve the source of water because it is where we get our irrigation,” he said. Salda also encouraged tree planting to protect the environment for future generations, emphasizing the need to strike a balance
between agricultural expansion and environmental sustainability.

Maedelyn Lumiwan- UB Intern

Amianan Balita Ngayon