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DA to enhance operation, maintenance of SWISA facilities
by Joeven C. Calasagsag - Monday, 28 November 2011, 10:48 AM
balita.ph; November 26, 2011 12:59 am

MANILA, Nov. 24 – Department of Agriculture (DA) and small irrigators nationwide are meeting in Metro Manila to identify possible interventions for boosting performance of the country's small water impounding system associations (SWISAs) so agricultural production, including government's 2013 rice self-sufficiency bid, can be enhanced further.

"We want to strengthen SWISAs' performance," DA Sec. Proceso Alcala said Thursday during the opening of the two-day 1st National Summit for Small-Scale Irrigation Projects.

He said that the DA hoped to bring forth better organization of SWISAs so these groups could function as conduits through which government channels its assistance for agriculture.

Better organization will also enable SWISAs to improve operation and maintenance of respective small water impounding systems and small diversion dams.

Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM)director Dr. Silvino Tejada raised urgency for helping SWISAs, saying that monitoring shows these groups were becoming inactive in operating respective irrigation systems efficiently even if the facilities were still in good condition and operational.

"This is why we thought of holding the summit to discuss reasons for SWISAs' inactiveness and to see what interventions are possible so these groups can be active again," he said during the event.

Available DA partial report as of December 2010 shows only 205 or 47 percent of the country's 436 SWISAs are active.

"Reasons for this change of perspective are varied and need immediate attention by concerned government agencies if operation and maintenance of SWISAs are to be maintained," BSWM said.

DA is backing the plan to reinvigorate SWISAs, noting these were organized and registered with Securities and Exchange Commission so these can have the legal personality to officially transact with government particularly on financial and non-financial support for respective irrigation and production systems.[(PNA) RMA/CJT/utb]

Source: DA to enhance operation, maintenance of SWISA facilities
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