The National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the government agency tasked to provide free irrigation to farmers nationwide, will get a lower budget of P31.46 billion for next year.

NIA

In a statement, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) pointed out how figures from past National Expenditure Programs reveal that the NIA has suffered consecutive budget cuts in the past four years, amounting to a more than P10-billion decrease from 2018.

For 2022, in particular, the proposed budget for NIA is P31.46 billion, which is lower than the P31.66 billion and P35.29 billion the government agency had for this year and last year. In 2019 and 2018, NIA had an even higher budget of P36.89 billion and P41.67 billion, respectively.

The budget deliberation for NIA is scheduled for tomorrow, September 8.

KMP Chairman Emeritus and Anakpawis National Chairperson Rafael Mariano has raised concerns over the defunding of irrigation, which is an important part of agricultural production.

“The Duterte regime has consistently defunded irrigation. How can it pronounce with a straight face that it targets significant growth in agriculture when year after year it decreases funding for something as basic as irrigation?” Mariano, who previously served the Duterte Administration as Agrarian Reform Secretary, said.

He added that “the Duterte regime is undermining the Filipino peasantry at all fronts” by blocking the development of necessary irrigation systems, implementing “a bogus land reforms program”, and promoting the importation of food and other agricultural products.

“The [government] disregards millions of farmers who are left vulnerable to drought, and millions more to hunger,” Mariano further said.

Coincidentally, NIA began to suffer budget cuts after the enactment of the Free Irrigation Services Act (FISA) in 2018.

Mariano said “it was as if the government stopped bothering at developing irrigation systems after it was made unprofitable”.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/09/08/govt-cuts-nias-budget-for-fourth-straight-year/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=govt-cuts-nias-budget-for-fourth-straight-year)