DA sets aside P1.4B to combat El Niño
- by Rommel Ynion () - May 12, 2001 - 12:00am
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has set aside P1.4 billion to cushion the impact of El Niño and spur agricultural productivity this year.

Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Montemayor said a large chunk of the amount will be used to beef up the country’s irrigation systems. He said the DA will also finance the development of high-yielding rice varieties which, he said, would be distributed nationwide.

These efforts, Montemayor said, are meant to increase the country’s palay production to 12.5 million metric tons this year.

Montemayor said he has fast-tracked the establishment of irrigation systems in Mindanao in an effort to "make it the food basket of the Philippines."

"Irrigation is one basic requirement for agricultural productivity. It should be developed in order for production to improve significantly," he said.

"The DA has already embarked on irrigation projects which can generate an average of 7,000 hectares every year up to their completion date in 2004," Montemayor pointed out.

The agriculture department has overseen at least six foreign-backed irrigation projects which cost P10 billion. These are the Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project in Cotabato and Maguindanao, Lower Agusan Development Project, Kabulnan Irrigation and Area Development Project in Maguindanao, Southern Philippines Irrigation Sector Project, and Water Resources Development Project and Irrigation Operation Support Project II.

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY LEONARDO MONTEMAYOR COTABATO AND MAGUINDANAO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE EL NI IRRIGATION KABULNAN IRRIGATION AND AREA DEVELOPMENT PROJECT LOWER AGUSAN DEVELOPMENT PROJECT MONTEMAYOR
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