Farmers in Rizal, Cagayan Province lauded the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for building them a communal irrigation system and a post-harvest facility worth P37.8 million that are meant to maximize farm productivity and increase their income.
DAR Regional Director Marjorie Ayson said she expects a big economic turn-around for Rizal, one of the poor municipalities in Cagayan, once these farm-support projects are completed as they would enable farmers to double, even triple, cropping seasons and seek their market value for their harvests.
“The farmers are now experiencing a prolonged dry spell because of the El Nino phenomenon. The lack of rainfall stunted the growth of rice, leading to low harvest and sub-standard quality because the rice failed to fully develop,” explained Ayson.
Ayson said, the construction of the communal irrigation project in Barangay Mauanan, Rizal, would irrigate 140 hectares of rice fields. The construction started on July 7, 2014 and is targeted to end in April next year.
“This irrigation project will help the farmers produce high-grade quality rice. They will also be able to maximize planting seasons to three times annually,” added Ayson.
Another project currently under construction is the Malaueg Savings and Trading Cooperative (Malasatco) post-harvest facility in the agrarian reform community (ARC) of Malaueg, in Rizal. The facility will consist of a 60-square meter warehouse with a 2,000-cavan capacity, a 48-square meter office, and a 450-square meter solar dryer.
“With this post-harvest facility, the 476 agrarian reform beneficiaries of Malaueg ARC, would soon have a proper place to store their harvested crops. Spoilage would be minimized if not averted,” said Ayson, adding that it would also allow them to wait for fair market value of their harvest.
“At present, the Malasatco post harvest facility is about 30 percent complete with the local government of Rizal shouldering the cost of backfilling and perimeter fencing of the facility. It [post-harvest facility] is expected to be completed and be operational this coming November,” said Ayson.
The infrastructure projects are funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) and being implemented by the DAR under the third phase of the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure and Support Project (ARISP III).