Valencia City approves P6M for 3 irrigation pumps

VALENCIA CITY (MindaNews/17 January) – The Valencia City council approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Leandro Jose Catarata to allocate P6.08 million for the urgent purchase of three water pumps to irrigate at least 700 hectares of rice farms in villages affected by the December 27 flashfloods.

Floodwaters destroyed the water siphon structure in Barangay San Isidro and cut water supply to the irrigation canal in rice producing Barangay Nabag-o and neighboring villages.

The Department of Agriculture and the National Irrigation Administration had warned of crop damage if water did not flow again in the irrigation canal.

The DA reported about 950 hectares of rice farms in Valencia City have been underwater because of last Tuesday’s flashfloods, the provincial agriculture office reported.

City Councilor Glenn Peduche, chair of the committee on agriculture, clarified that aside from the flooded rice farms, about 700 hectares more of farmlands were also deprived of water after irrigation structures were destroyed.

The city council allotted P1.5 million for the purchase of the three pumps. The rest of the amount proposed by NIA will be used on fuel and other expenses including the salary for two pump operators.

But only P1.5 million could be sourced from the 2011 calamity funds, as the 5 percent mandatory amount for last year would be used for other calamity response expenses.

About P4.5 million will be sourced from the 2012 calamity funds, Peduche told MindaNews.

He added that the NIA provincial office has proposed to their national office for the repair of the irrigation structures.

But Peduche said the city government needed to respond to the needs of the farmers soon as national funds would take time to download.

He said that after the one-year period it would take NIA to repair the irrigation structures destroyed by floods, the city government will take possession of the water pumps.

Estelita Madjos, deputy to the provincial agriculturist noted that Valencia has at least 10,000 hectares of rice farms as of December 2011.

Jimmy Apostol, Bukidnon NIA irrigation manager estimated that damage to the irrigation infrastructures reached P50 million.

Apostol said that at least P30 million worth of crops would be totally damaged without water from the irrigation canals. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)