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NTA allots P74M for irrigation loans

- Ma. Elisa Osorio  () - February 22, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  The National Tobacco Administration (NTA) is allotting P74 million in loans for close to a thousand tobacco farmers who would like to build their own irrigation system.

In a statement, NTA administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza said the assistance to farmers shall be in the form of cash, to be used exclusively for the purchase of small irrigation system facilities, as a component of the Integrated Farming and Other Income Generating Activities Project (IFOIGAP) for a market driven quality tobacco production this year, and to support the Food Sufficiency Program of the President led by the DA.

Zaragoza said the assistance shall be based on the type or package of irrigation system adaptable to a given farm such as shallow tube wells, open or ring wells, or small farm water reservoir, each with corresponding pumps and engine sets.

To date, a total of 937 farmers from 77 municipalities have signified interest to avail of the project. Of this number, 126 are from Ilocos Norte; 419 from Ilocos Sur; 88 from La Union; 77 from Abra; 10 from Pangasinan; six from Tarlac; 100 from Isabela; and 111 from Cagayan, Zaragoza revealed.

According to the NTA’s implementing guidelines, the maximum loanable amount, depending on the farm area, is as follows: for 0.50 to 0.60 hectare (ha), P30,000; for 0.61 to 0.80 ha, P35,000; for 0.81 to one ha, P45,000; and for more than one ha, P60,000.

A one-time one percent service fee shall be charged, while an interest of six percent per annum shall be collected on the loan, commencing on the date of completion, or upon acceptance by the farmer. Interest shall be based on the diminishing balance of the principal amount.

The irrigation facility loan shall be paid back by the farmer within three years for a loan bracket amounting to P25,000 to P30,000; four years for P31,000 to P50,000; and five years for P50,000 and above.

Payments shall be deducted from the proceeds of the sale of tobacco, rice, vegetables, and other crops commencing on the next applicable cropping season.

The criteria for site selection require that shallow tube wells should be put up in an area with a shallow aquifer and groundwater yield potential that can sustain the crops’ water requirement throughout the growing season, and without history of salt water intrusion.

The open well or ring well should ideally be eight to 12 meters in depth, with pump and preferably gasoline or diesel engine set, for farms that are not accessible to electric power supply.

The small farm reservoir requires an area with high water holding capacity, with ideal soil quality, and preferably with a hardpan at the innermost layer to prevent water loss. It should not be accessible to any irrigation system provided and managed by the National Irrigation Administration and other types of communal irrigation.

The pump and engine brands under each option must be based on farmers’ choice, while labor cost shall be shouldered by the tobacco farmer-availee. The irrigation system shall also be constructed in accordance with NTA recommended designs and specifications, Zaragoza said.

EDGARDO D FOOD SUFFICIENCY PROGRAM OF THE PRESIDENT ILOCOS NORTE ILOCOS SUR INTEGRATED FARMING AND OTHER INCOME GENERATING ACTIVITIES PROJECT IRRIGATION LA UNION NATIONAL IRRIGATION ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL TOBACCO ADMINISTRATION SHALL ZARAGOZA
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