Active small water irrigation system association (SWISAs) nationwide would be a big boost to the clustering strategy of the Masagana Rice Industry Development Program, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
There are around 2,891 active SWISAs under the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM), which count 88,351 individual members in the country.
This, the DA said, would boost the country’s production of rice.
The biggest system of BSWM is in Plaridel, Misamis Occidental, involving 1,800 hectares with 1,350 farmers.
According to the DA, the BSWM builds and turns over to the SWISAs the community-managed small water impounding projects (SWIPs), irrigation facilities from huge diversion dams and even solar powered small water systems for rice.
The organized and duly-registered SWISAs take charge of maintaining the systems for sustainability.
The SWISAs are trained by BSWM’s community development officers on basic leadership and technical skills and help organize SWISAs.
“We teach farmers how important soil is to their farming livelihood so we train them how to convert dayami (a rich source of NPK) into soil nutrient to reduce their production cost from fertilizers,” said Engr. Karen Sagana of BSWM Water Resources Management Division.
She explained that BSWM has already 138 SWISAs with 100 to as much as 1,800 hectares service areas in Plaridel, Misamis Occidental that have been consolidated. This totals over 138,000 hectares.
To be able to avail of small scale irrigation projects, the minimum serviceable area is 15 hectares per SWISA. Majority of the SWISAs are located in the Cordillera Autonomous Region and Region 2 with 409 and 260, respectively; followed by Region 3 with 384 and Region 5 with 287.
The first strategy of MRIDP is to cluster farms into 60 to 100 hectares, which would receive the interventions from government (seeds, fertilizers, biofertilizers, soil ameliorants, machineries and even credit and marketing support through linkages with the private sector and various stakeholders involved in the rice industry).