Iloilo will eventually reign supreme in palay production all over the country once the the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project is completed in 2016 according to Department of Agriculture 6 Regional Director Larry Nacionales.
He said that the province is fourth to Pangasinan, Isabela and Nueva Ecija in terms of rice production with a close to 1 million metric tons produce in 2012. Iloilo fills in fifty percent of the total 2.2 million metric tons production being contributed by the whole Western Visayas.
The projection was made by the region’s food production and security department manager after the ceremonial ground breaking of the PhP11.2 billion pesos Jalaurproject last February 21, 2013 at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol Building during the visit of President Noynoy Aquino.
Nacionales noted that the farmers in the province will get to produce rice in a 5-planting season a year cycle.
Of the total 325,000 hectares (ha) agricultural land in Western Visayas, only 128,000 has are irrigated and the rest is rain-fed. Forty-five percent of the total agricultural land in the region is in Iloilo and only thirty five percent is irrigated and sixty five percent is rain-fed.
The project is set to benefit at least 23 municipalities and the component city of Passi. It will provide irrigation to an additional of 22,340 has of the five existing irrigation system and 9,500 has rainfed areas.
Director Nacionales stated further that the multi-billion project is along the thrust of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala’s and President Aquino’s administration to ensure food security and stability through out the country in the years to come notwithstading the economic benefits that Region 6 will get in the long run.
The Jalaur River Multi Purpose Project will also provide an additional of electricity supply of 6.6 megawatt through the construction of a hydro-electric power plant.