Abono to file no irrigation fees bill
By Virgilio Sar. Maganes
ROSALES-Following the call of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to free farmers from paying for irrigation, the Abono Partylist group is set to file a bill freeing farmers from paying irrigation fees.
The Abono, now on its fourth term, again won two seats in the House of Representatives last election.
Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo O. So said irrigation fees eat a big bulk of expenses of farmers in their farm operations.
“This is now the time to look into the welfare of the farmers. Abono Partylist was successful in passing the law that makes smuggling of agricultural products as economic sabotage. Now we are set to free our farmers from paying irrigation fees. The national government through the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) should look for possible ways to subsidize irrigation fees,” So said.
So also said that by scrapping irrigation fees, farmers will have more income to sustain their farming activities and family needs.
So lauded the newly installed administration of President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte for having agriculture in its main development agenda and welcomed the appointment of Agriculture Secretary Piñol who he said articulates the needs of the farmers and fishermen in the country.
In one of the interviews with Oftociano “Anong” Manalo, president of the Federation of Irrigators Association of Region I, he said (that) farmers pay an equivalent five cavans of palay for irrigation service fees per cropping during dry season and three cavans of palay per cropping during wet season or P3,150 (45 kilos at P17 per kilo) and P2,295, respectively.
Manalo said the national government should continue its program in providing certified seeds to farmers and hoped that these will be given directly to farmers’ groups and not though local government units (LGUs).
He also said that there are municipal mayors and municipal agricultural officers who select the beneficiaries based on their political support and how close they are to them leaving other farmers who are deserving of the government’s subsidy.
On the other hand, Abono Partylist Rep. Conrad M. Estrella III said the national government should also invest more in modern agricultural technologies and advocate these to the farmers.
“Farming system is not a guess work. It should be planned and based on accepted technologies. We believe we already have good technologies but many farmers refuse to adopt them. Maybe, this is because we are not able to show them that their farm produce would increase if they use the modern technologies,” Estrella said.
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