Lingayen- - - Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. has conferred yesterday, July 9, with the Irrigators’ Association of the 4th, 5th and 6th Districts of Pangasinan at the Agricultural Training Institute in Sta. Barbara town to personally hear their grievances thru a consultative dialogue.
The governor said that during the first two years of his term he has concentrated the ground works on the rehabilitation or improvement of the agricultural facilities of the province first to basically position the needs of the marginalized farmers.
According to him, after the improvement of the six agricultural facilities, the province can now proceed to the next step which is irrigation.
“I can relate to your problems because I am also a farmer” he said, as he expressed full support to all the endeavors of the different irrigators associations throughout Pangasinan.
Governor Espino stated that ‘pragmatic approach’ must be done to transform Pangasinan into a premier agricultural province.in the next two to three decades.
To achieve this, the province must first increase its yield, be self-sufficient and rice importation must be minimized, if not stop. To do this, irrigation must be given priority in the coming days, he stressed.
Meanwhile, Engr. Roberto Aboli from the NIA Regional Office disclosed that the implementation of various irrigation projects will be fast-tracked until next year.
“Nakakuha po tayo dito sa Pangasinan ng P243 million na pondo para sa 27 communal irrigation at 4 national irrigation’” he bared as he added that to date, NIA has accomplished 50% of the target from which 4,700 hectares are rehabilitated and 1,616 are restored.
Aboli, however, encouraged the farmers to follow the cropping calendar to avoid problems on irrigation.
On the other hand, Engr.Rosendo So, ABONO Party-list’s chairman, told the members of the irrigators’ associations that for the past years his group has been fighting for irrigation, and only now that the province has displayed a pragmatic approach to solve the irrigation problems of the province.
“We are lucky that the governor is concern with the welfare of the farmers,” he said as he bared that the national government has allotted P2 billion additional budget for irrigation program.Said funds, however, has not reached the local government units yet because of bidding problems.