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Legarda: Free Irrigation for Farmers Under 2018 Budget

January 22, 2018

Senator Loren Legarda today said that farmers will continue to receive government support under the 2018 national budget through the subsidy of irrigation service fees to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

“As in the previous year, we will continue to subsidize this year the irrigation service fees, which, in the past, had been a burden to our farmers. We are an agricultural country and it is only proper that we continue extending the necessary assistance to our farmers, especially for irrigation services that are integral in maintaining our lands fertile and producing bountiful harvest,” Legarda said.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, added that the Department of Agriculture (DA) also has Php2.669 Billion for the construction, restoration, or improvement of small-scale irrigation projects and Php4.281 Billion for the construction of facilities and procurement of agricultural machineries and equipment.

The Senator also said, “The 2018 national budget strengthens the national programs of agriculture agencies. It also provides for the equipment, machinery, facility, and infrastructure needs of our farmers and fisherfolks, and builds their capacity to combat climate change and reduce disaster risks.”

The amount of Php20.2 Billion is allocated for the national programs for rice, corn, high value crops development, organic agriculture and livestock; Php4.186 Billion for the National Fisheries Program; and the Php395 Million funding for the implementation of extension support, education, and training services of the national corn program will include Php10 Million for corn-based farmer-scientist research, development, and extension training program.

Additionally, the amount of Php1.05 Billion under the Agro-Industry Modernization Credit and Financing Program Administration will be transferred to government financial institutions (GFIs), cooperative banks, rural banks, and viable non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be used exclusively for the establishment of a flexible credit facility for the benefit of small farmers and fisherfolks.

She also said that the DA has Php1 Billion as Quick Response Fund (QRF), which shall serve as a standby fund to be used for minor repair of small-scale irrigation systems, as well as provision of seeds and other planting materials, fingerlings and fries, livestock, minor fishing paraphernalia for communities or areas stricken by calamities, epidemics, crises, and catastrophes. The NIA also has a QRF in the amount of Php500 Million.

“With this strengthened support for our farmers, we signify the importance of their role to provide sustenance and nutrition to all Filipinos and their capacity to lead our country towards a food-secure future,” Legarda concluded.