Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya—The National Irrigation Administration is asking local farmers to delay farming by about two months and adjust their cropping calendars to start on May 1, owing to ongoing repairs and rehabilitation of local irrigation systems worth P50 million.
Engineer Leonardo B. Villegas, division manager of the NIA-Nueva Vizcaya Irrigation Management Office, asked for the full cooperation of Vizcayano farmers, who usually begin their dry crop planting season this month.
“We sadly inform our rice farmers in the province to please cooporate with the adjustment of the cropping calendar to give way to the completion of our much-needed repairs and rehabilitation of line canals, wherein we are doing the concreting in the canal floorings, structuring and putting up of steel gates on line canals and concreting of canal linings,” he told the Standard.
Villegas’ office operates two systems, the Colocol National Irrigation System and the Nueva Vizcaya Bagabag Irrigation System, which waters up to 9,000 hectares of farmland. Both pumps source their irrigation water from the Magat River.
Farmers from the towns of Solano, Bayombong, and Villaverde get water from the Colocol System, while the Nueva Vizcaya Bagabag System only serves farmers from Bagabag.
Synchronized planting for the whole province, Villegas said, starts on May 1 “because it’s the start of the initial delivery of water. Planting needs sufficient water to follow the cropping calendar.”
The adjusted cropping calendar now stretches from May to September 2020 for the dry crop, while the wet crop begins from October 2020 to February 2021.
The province’s traditional planting season starts from February to June for the dry crop, while the wet crop starts from July to December.
Rice farmers on the communal irrigation system must follow suit if they wanted to avoid pests like rats, snails and locusts flocking their fields owing to the change, the irrigation official said.
Nueva Vizcaya has 160 communal irrigation systems, which waters lots less than a thousand hectares in size, that are NIA-assisted. They source their water from creeks and rivers, while NIA provides these systems with small water impounding projects (SWIP), small irrigation projects (SIP) and water tanks irrigating not only rice fields but high-value crops too.
The Irrigation Management Office also provides water to tobacco farms converted to rice lands, like those in Brgy. Sta Lucia in Bagabag town.