The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) has completed more than P5 billion worth of irrigation systems from 1974 to 2010 for farming communities that cannot be served by large-scale irrigation systems.
Based on its cumulative report, the BSWM undertook four types of irrigation systems: Small Water Impounding Projects, Small Diversion Dams (SDDs) Small Farmer Reservoir (SFR) and Shallow Tube Wells (STWs).
“Without the establishment of these irrigation projects by the BSWM, many small farming communities not reached or serviced by national irrigation systems would not have water to grow crops, which could affect national food output and security,” BSWM Executive Director Silvino Tejada said.
The projects undertaken from 1974 to 2010 by the BSWM covered 199,727 hectares and benefitted 148,647 farmers nationwide.
For SWIPs, the BSWM completed 2,060 units with the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) getting 228 followed by Region 2 (211 SWIPs), Region 1 (196 SWIPs) and Region 3 (170 SWIPs).
“SWIPs have proven their impact in regions where there is pronounced wet and dry seasons like the northern part of the Philippines. During the wet season, excess water is impounded by the SWIPs and then used during the dry season,” Tejada said.
The BSWM spend almost P3 billion to establish the 2,060 SWIPs nationwide from 1974 to 2010, covering 84,168 hectares and benefitting 64,266 farmers.
For SFRs, the BSWM established 22,282 from 1974 to 2010 costing P170 million, covering also 22,282 hectares and benefitting the same number of farmers.
Region 3 had the most number of SFRs established with 5,903 followed by Region 1 (3,734 SFRs), Region 2 (2,961 SFRs) and CAR (1,825 SFRs).
“The small farmer reservoirs have also made a big impact on farmers that cannot be reached by national irrigation systems, and these can be easily established in far-flung areas where farming is the main source of livelihood,” Tejada said.
For shallow tube wells, the BSWM invested P1.85 billion for 30,588 units covering 91,589 hectares and benefitting 60,968 farmers. Region 3 lead the regions with the biggest number of STWs established with 5,326 followed by Region 1 (4,664 STWs), Region 2 (3,893 STWs) and Region 6 (2,623 STWs).
The BWSM also spent nearly P40 million for the rehabilitation of 566 STWs nationwide covering 1,698 farmers and benefitting 1,132 farmers.
Tejada said that under the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, and through the stewardship of DA Sec Procy J. Alcala the BSWM will continue to establish SWIPs, SDDs, SFRs and STWs for small farmers who live in areas that cannot be reached by national irrigation systems, and this is one way of showing that the government cares for the welfare of small farmers.
“I believe that the four infrastracture projects of the BSWM can greatly contribute to the achievement of the vision of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala to achieve rice self sufficiency by 2013 and make the country’s agriculture sector a major pillar of rural and national development,” the BSWM head said. Veron Hernandez, PSciJourn Mega Manila