Philippine Rice Research Institute of the Department of Agriculture (DA-PhilRice) pushes recommendations for farmers to benefit from a water-saving technology called Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD).

In the recent “Rice Science for Decision-Makers” issue titled “Policy imperatives to increase uptake of the Alternative Wetting and Drying (AWD) technology,” authors noted the need to revisit sections of the Free Irrigation Act. 

“While the Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) technology has been around for decades and has proved effective in managing water in many rice-producing countries, its adoption  among Filipino farmers is unremarkable,” authors said.

AWD uses a cheap, simple, and efficient tool: a perforated tube made of PVC in managing water in the rice field. In some areas, instead of PVC, farmers use bamboo. Based on studies, water savings of up to 38% is possible and that it can significantly reduce fuel cost and time spent in irrigation.

Specifically, they recommend allocating larger operation and maintenance subsidies to irrigators’ associations that adopt AWD. They also recommend that the National Irrigation Administration may incentivize district offices that are able to implement proper rotational irrigation. 

Citing a 2019 paper by Agnes Rola, the RS4DM also recommends improving irrigation water governance. This way, the work of the 13 institutions involved in irrigation water governance will be harmonized as they are currently fragmented.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute