WATER SUPPLY. The inauguration of PHP993.3 million Barotac Viejo Small Reservoir Irrigation Project at Nueva Invencion village, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo on Tuesday (April 16, 2019). Irrigating a 2, 050 hectares of farmland, the project will benefit a total of 880 farmers from Barotac Viejo and Banate, the National Irrigation Administration said. (Photo by Gail Momblan)
ILOILO CITY -- A total of 880 farmers will benefit from the Barotac Viejo Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (BVSRIP), which was inaugurated Tuesday at Nueva Invencion village, Barotac Viejo town, Iloilo, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said.
NIA Administrator Ricardo Visaya said the PHP993.3 million project will irrigate a total of 2,050 hectares of agricultural areas all-year round.
The 2,050 hectares of total benefiting land area is composed of 265 hectares newly-irrigable areas, 459 hectares rehabilitated areas, and 1,326 hectares of restored areas.
Feliserio Natalio, Federation President of the Irrigators Association, said farmers in the area will be encouraged to push through with the third cropping of rice, now with the supply of water from the BVSRIP.
"In the past, we only plant in the first and second cropping. Only a few plant for the third cropping," Natalio said.
The third cropping falls in the month of December until March, which the BVSRIP is expected to become fully operational.
Visaya added that with the irrigation project, the cropping intensity of farmers will increase by three folds.
In an interview, Gerardo Corsiga, Regional Manager of NIA 6 (Western Visayas), said the BVSRIP needs at least six to eight months to plot water.
"A little more sacrifice and this reservoir will finally provide a whole-year round water supply," Corsiga said.
Engineer Randy Alipis, acting Division Manager of NIA- Iloilo-Guimaras Irrigation, said that it is not only Barotac Viejo, which will benefit from the project but also the neighboring town of Banate.
According to him, BVSRIP will cover the villages of California, La Fortuna, Natividad, Sto. Domingo, Bugnay, San Miguel, San Antonio, San Geronimo, San Lucas, Vista Alegre and Dela Peña in Barotac Viejo; and Merced, Carmelo, Talokgangan, Bariga Magdalo, and Libertad in Banate.
Aside from irrigation purposes, a Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the NIA, Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources, Department of Tourism for the proposed agriculture, fishery and eco-tourism site within the BVSRIP vicinity.
"We can have boating activities, jet ski, and restaurants can be established here soon for tourists to enjoy," Visaya said.
At least 10 percent of the 50 square kilometers of the water reservoir will be allocated for fishery, Visaya said. It is expected to generate 3,442 metric tons of fish annually.
Iloilo 5th District Rep. Raul Tupas also expressed his gratitude to the project, which will forward the tourism aspect of Barotac Viejo.
The eyed tourist attractions in the BVSRIP will be added to the already booming tourism industry of the fifth district, he said.
He said affected and displaced families will be the top priority of livelihood generated by the BVSRIP. The 15 affected families are assured of financial support and relocation within this month, Corsiga said.
"They are now complying with the requirements. After which, they will be granted support from the government," he said.
Visaya also mentioned President Rodrigo Duterte's political will, which led to the realization of BVSRIP.
"We have a president whose ‘Build, Build, Build’ program made possible the construction of the reservoir," he said. (PNA)