The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) inaugurated recently a P139-million agricultural infrastructure project turned over to farmers in Quirino province.
A total of 5,237 farmers and residents of the Eastern Nagtipunan Agrarian Reform Community (ARC) in Nagtipunan, this province, are expected to benefit from the Katimbang Bridge project implemented under the JICA-DAR Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project–Phase 3 (ARISP 3), in collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
Katimbang Bridge, which began construction in 2013, is five kilometers long and features a 358.32-meter road approach.
According to the JICA, the project is expected to develop 1,579 hectares of agricultural land by significantly reducing travel time of farmers and residents from San Ramos and Anak to Ponggo and nearby provinces from 2.5 hours to 30 minutes.
As travel costs are seen to be reduced by 87 percent, their carry-over cost on a sack of agricultural produce will decrease from P75 to P10.
The increased connectivity also aims to provide residents with access to basic social services like schools and hospitals.
Pedro Pandongit, chairman of the Quirino Tribal Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative which belongs to the Eastern Nagtipunan ARC, thanked the agencies behind the project “for their continuous assistance and leadership.”
“The Katimbang Bridge can be considered as a bridge of hope, especially for the residents of Barangay San Ramos, as they now have better access to basic services and jobs. The bridge is indeed a big help to our communities, as we can now travel with ease during any kind of weather,” he said.