Senator Cynthia Villar hailed the enactment into law of the bill providing free irrigation services to small hold farmers.

President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed into law Republic Act 10969, which exempts the payment of irrigation service for up to eight hectares of land.

“Now that free irrigation service has been institutionalized and made permanent, our farmers can now be assured that they are not going to pay for irrigation services, saving on their cost of production,” Villar said.

The veteran legislator noted that as early as 2017, farmers have been getting free irrigation service with the inclusion in the 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA) of P2 billion and P2.6 billion in the 2018 GAA.

Free irrigation is one of the reforms needed to improve the competitiveness of the agriculture sector.

The seasoned lawmaker, chair of the Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture and principal author of the bill, said free irrigation is one of the reforms needed to improve the competitiveness of the agriculture sector.

“With the lifting of quantitative restriction on rice, imported rice will soon flood the market and it is very important that our local farmers’ produce will be able to compete by lowering the production cost,” the lady senator said.

Villar also added that free irrigation for small farmers is an appropriate response to the projection of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that in 2050, “small family farms and not the big corporate farms, are the ones depended on to provide food for the growing world population.”

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