December 10, 2018
Iloilo, PHILIPPINES – A newly rehabilitated and improved national irrigation system, Sta. Barbara River Irrigation System (RIS), in Visayas was inaugurated Monday (December 3) as part of continuing assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the Philippine agriculture sector under the 6.187-billion yen National Irrigation Sector Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (NISRIP).
The Sta. Barbara RIS subproject, which began in 2015 and was completed last July, aims to restore about 2,289 hectares of service area in the province to help raise productivity and income of 1,266 farmers in the area. The project included rehabilitating the diversion dam, irrigation canals, and other agriculture infrastructure facilities in the area. The project is also one out of the eleven national irrigation systems to be rehabilitated under NISRIP.
Top officials of the Province of Iloilo, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Embassy of Japan in Manila, JICA, and farmer beneficiaries attended the inauguration including turnover of support facilities for irrigators' associations (IAs).
"JICA is working with various sectors in the Philippines, including agriculture, to help improve rice productivity, develop the value chain, and raise the income of Filipino farming households," said JICA Philippines Senior Representative Yo Ebisawa.
Farmers remain among the Philippines' poorest sectors with poverty incidence going as much as 34.3% (PSA Report, 2015).
The project has three components, namely: rehabilitation of irrigation facilities, institutional strengthening of IAs and agricultural support.
NISRIP is part of NIA's major thrust to fast track the restoration and rehabilitation of national irrigation systems to improve and sustain rice production and other staples in the country. The 11 NISRIP sites are located in the following 10 provinces: Ilocos Norte (Madongan and Solsona RIS), Pangasinan (San Fabian RIS), Pampanga (Porac-Gumain RIS), Quezon (Dumacaa RIS), Palawan (Malatgao RIS), Iloilo (Sta. Barbara RIS), Bukidnon (Muleta RIS), Davao del Sur (Mal RIS), Sultan Kudarat (Lambayong RIS), and Agusan del Sur (Simulao RIS).
In the Philippines, JICA has been helping reduce poverty through projects in the agriculture sector, infrastructure, and disaster risk reduction, among many others. As of 2017, total Official Development Assistance (ODA) of JICA in the Philippines allocated for agriculture amounted to about 295 billion yen.
The Sta. Barbara River Irrigation System (dam and gates depicted above) is one of the subprojects rehabilitated under the National Irrigation Sector Rehabilitation and Improvement Project.