by Ofelia C. Empian
The biggest World Bank funded projects in the country worth P740 million – the Upper Chico River Irrigation System in Kalinga (UCRIS)and West Abulug Irrigation System (WAIS) in Apayao – will be extended after the National Economic Development Authority approved the National Irrigation Administration’s request for extension.
NEDA through its Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee has recently approved the NIA’s request for the extension of the World Bank-assisted Participatory Irrigation Development Project or PIDP.
PIDP is a co-based project management office under NIA, which aims to improve irrigation delivery on a financially and technically sustainable basis that will contribute to increased agricultural production and productivity among beneficiary farmers in irrigated areas.
NIA-CAR Director John Socalo said the PIDP projects were supposed to end by Feb. 27 but it has been extended until Aug. 31, 2018.
There are 58 PIDPs in the entire country funded by World Bank.
The biggest projects are in the Cordillera with the UCRIS project, which is 33 percent of the country’s loan to WB with a P450-million budget, and the P290-M funded WAIS in Apayao.
With the extension, Socalo said the much delayed rehabilitation of UCRIS would be fast tracked.
Improvement of the irrigation facility has suffered delays in the past due to previous typhoons and the alleged slow work done by the contractors of the project. But once completed, it is expected to improve the deteriorating facilities of the decades-old irrigation system and will boost rice production in the region.
Earlier, NIA’s board of directors has approved the termination of contract of the contractors of the rehab project due to the delays in development since the repair started in 2013.
There are 24 irrigator’s associations in Kalinga and Isabela that are making use of the facility.
The Department of Agriculture has classified Kalinga as the region’s top rice producer.