“Finally, our dream, and that of our forefathers, has turned into a reality. Now, we don’t have to depend on the weather to plant our crops because this project would supply us enough water to keep our fields irrigated all year round,” said farmer Eduardo Ebdane during the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) turn-over of P66.7-million worth of irrigation projects in the province of Sultan Kudarat.
The turned-over infrastructure projects in Columbio town are composed of P56.9-million Dalol communal irrigation system (CIS), that will irrigate 460 hectares of farmlands, and P9.8-million Macadiz small irrigation project (SIP), that has a service area of 57 hectares located in Barangay Datalblao.
Ebdane, who is also the president of Colundibus Communal Irrigators’ Association, said that in the past, they could not maximize the use of their farmlands because of insufficiency of the water in their community. “Now that we have water all-year round for our farms, we expect an abundance of agricultural yields in the future,” he added.
SOCCSKSARGEN Regional Director Marion Abella said the irrigation projects are implemented under the DAR’s Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development (MinSAAD) Project aimed to alleviate poverty, generate income, develop agribusiness, and improve the quality of life of its beneficiaries.
“These projects, spearheaded by the DAR-MinSAAD, and implemented by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), in coordination with the local government of Columbio, is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA),” Abella said.
The Director congratulated the cooperating agencies on the well-constructed irrigation projects, as well as the farmers from Macadiz Communal Irrigators’ Association and the Colundibus Communal Irrigators’ Association as the recipients.
“In order to maintain sustainability of the project, the beneficiaries must protect the sources, Macadiz Creek and Dalol River. They must do their civic duty to help the community by getting rid of any debris from the source that might hinder the water from flowing onto the fields,” said Abella.
DAR-MinSAAD Project Manager Eduardo E. Suaybaguio reaffirmed the challenge presented by Abella and conveyed the message of DAR Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Office (FASPO) Bernie F. Cruz as he congratulated the beneficiaries of the project and lauded the impressive efforts of the DAR, NIA and LGU in turning the project into a reality.
“These projects are implemented under the guidance of Undersecretary Cruz. He said that the irrigations would surely boost the agricultural lives of the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and the quality of lives of the people in the community,” Suaybaguio said.
Mayor Edwin F, Bermudez of Columbio expressed his utmost thanks to DAR and NIA for the irrigation projects and vowed to take care and maintain the projects which would benefit many generations to come.
“This will definitely change the way of life of the farmers in the community as well as improve the economy through higher rice production. DAR will always play a big role in the improvement of the lives of the people of Columbio,” said Bermudez.
NIA Sultan Kudarat Division Manager Flora May D. Respicio, for their part, assured the ARBs that their agency will continue to monitor the projects and give ample trainings to the farmers on how to effectively utilize the system and produce more crops.
In parting, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Rodolfo Alburo reminded the recipients pf the projects: “In life, there are people who let things happen, people who allow things to happen, and people who make things happen. Certainly, it attests that the DAR make things happen, for the benefit of the ARBs and their families.”