Free Irrigation Now Closer to Farmers: A Boost from NIA-UPRIIS
NIA-UPRIIS extends free irrigation to eligible farmers, simplifying the application process to enhance agricultural productivity. What steps can other agricultural agencies take to further support small-scale farmers in their regions?

In a significant move to support the agricultural sector, the National Irrigation Administration - Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (NIA-UPRIIS) is actively bringing its free irrigation service to the doorsteps of qualified farmer-beneficiaries. This initiative, grounded in the Free Irrigation Service Act (Republic Act 10969), is designed to alleviate the burden on small-scale farmers, offering free irrigation to those with landholdings of up to eight hectares.

June Barioga, the Administrative and Finance Division Manager at NIA-UPRIIS, revealed that out of the 98,375 identified eligible farmers, fewer than 30,000 have applied. To bridge this gap, NIA-UPRIIS field personnel are proactively visiting barangays, assisting farmers with the application process, and gathering necessary documents, including proof of land ownership and certifications from local officials.

The agency's approach aims to simplify the application process, a stark contrast to the initial implementation in 2018, which was marred by cumbersome requirements and fees. "We've made everything free, including notarial services, and we're reaching out to the farmers instead of them coming to us," Barioga explained. Successful applicants receive a Certificate of Exemption, ensuring they incur no future charges for irrigation services. Additionally, farmers with outstanding irrigation debts can have these waived, further easing their financial burden.

NIA-UPRIIS's concerted effort to expand access to free irrigation underscores its commitment to enhancing the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and bolstering the agricultural sector's growth. Farmers in Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, and Bulacan are encouraged to seize this opportunity to secure free irrigation services for their lands.


Ms. Angel Faith Danganan serves as the President of Central Luzon Balita and has worked as a broadcast journalist with the news group for less than a decade. Originally from Capas, Tarlac, she actively participates in numerous civic groups and public service initiatives. She took up her Broadcast communication studies at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Manila.

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