Written by the Web Team
Farmers in Central Mindanao experience the benefits of controlled irrigation (CI), a technology being promoted by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), in efficiently managing water supply and increasing rice yield.
A water-saving technology, CI lessens farmers` fear of water delay when the soil surface of their fields becomes dry. Through CI, irrigation is controlled through observation wells installed in the fields 15-20 cm below the ground. The observation wells allow farmers to monitor the status of water in their field and help them determine the appropriate amount of water and timing of irrigation.
“Farmers are no longer afraid of delayed water supply reaching six days after adopting CI,” said Engr. Edna Bantala, National Irrigation Association superintendent for the Libungan River Irrigation System in North Cotabato.
Also known as Alternate Wetting and Drying, CI registered an average yield of 4.5 t/ha across the demonstration sites in Central Mindanao while fields, wherein the technology is not practiced, only gained an average yield of 2.1 t/ha.
Farmer-adopters also integrated the technology with using newly released varieties, plastic drumseeder, and nutrient manager to further increase their yield.
“Sa akon isa ka ektarya naka harvest ko sang 5.5 t/ha pero ang akon mga tapad 4.5 t/ha lang (I harvested 5.5 t/ha while my neighboring areas only had 4.5 t/ha),” said Johnny Palomero, a farmer cooperator in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato
Meanwhile, 23 farmers in M’lang, Cotabato signified their interest to try CI in their area. M`lang has about 7,000 ha of serviceable area covering M’lang/Malasila Rivers Irrigation Systems.
“This is a good indication that farmers appreciated the technology we are sharing to them. This is also an answer to our prayers in addressing the water shortage in our service area,” Engr. May Respicio, superintendent of M`lang/Malasila Rivers Irrigation Systems said.
The Irrigated Rice Research Consortium-Country Outreach Program of the International Rice Research Institute in collaboration with PhilRice continuously evaluates the effects of CI and other alternative cost-reducing techniques in direct-seeding in Central Mindanao.