Members of the Paetan Farmers Association with Barangay Paetan Agricultural Technician (lady in black and white shirt) and staff from the Department of Agriculture-MiMaRoPa (lady in red shirt) visit the diversion dam in Barangay Paetan, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. (Photo by Denice Joelle Benosa, RAFIS, DA-MiMaRoPa)
"Dati dalawang cropping lang, ngayon nakakatatlo na kami,” an elated farmer named Roberto Camero said when asked about how the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) diversion dam helps them.
Camero is the President of the Paetan Farmers Association (PFA) in Bgy. Paetan, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. Their association is the beneficiary of the P5 million-worth diversion dam from the DA’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM).
PFA President Robert Camero happily shares the story how the diversion dam helps them amplified their yield. (Photo by Denice Joelle Benosa, RAFIS, DA-MiMaRoPa)
Diversion dam redirects river water to flow into a canal for irrigation system.
It was in 2013 that the Department of Agriculture-MiMaRoPa Region discovered a river in Barangay Paetan that could be a good source for irrigation system. Looking at its potential, the Regional Agri-Department urged PFA to submit a proposal for the construction of a diversion dam.
As Camero recalled they need to make 700 sand bags and build a makeshift irrigation canal. For 20 years, it helped them to hold the water from spilling and save for the cropping seasons.
“Kami-kami lang po doon ang nagsa-sand bagging at kami na din po ang nagkakamada para makapag-ipon kami ng tubig para sa aming kabukiran,” recalls Camero.
However, the makeshift canal was no use during rainy season for it is not sturdy enough to control the river water.
Thus, the farmers can only plant for two (2) cropping seasons and made them harvest less than four (4) metric ton (MT) per term.
Their struggle ended in 2015 when DA’s BSWM finally constructed the diversion dam.
A view of an irrigational canal connected with the diversion dam. (Photo by Denice Joelle Benosa, RAFIS, DA-MiMaRoPa)
It has become a big relief for the association. Aside from relieving them from carrying hundreds of sandbags, they can now save more water without moving a finger for three cropping seasons. It also helps them increase their harvest; from less than 4MT they can now yield 6MT to 8MT.
Furthermore, the irrigation system can serve up to 200 has of farmland, even the areas that do not belong to the association benefit from it.
“Malaki pong tulong ang irrigation canal kasi naiipon na naming ng maayos ang tubig at diretso na talaga siya sa kabukiran,” he said.
Members of Paetan Farmers Association with Jupiter Tivida(second from left), Occidental Mindoro Provincial Corn Coordinator and Wilma Sagon(second from right), Barangay Paetan Agricultural Technician, pose for a photo opportunity at the cornfield of a PFA member. (Photo by Denice Joelle Benosa, RAFIS, DA-MiMaRoPa).
Seeing the benefits of the diversion dam in their field, PAF members have agreed to contribute for its maintenance and improvement.
On January 26, 2017 the farmers association has formally received the ownership of the dam.
PFA members led by its President Roberto Camero recieve the certificate of turn over from Atty. Cipriano Santiago, DA-MiMaRoPa Regional Executive Director on January 26, 2017. Also with them are Engr. Elmer Ferry (far left), DA-MiMaRoPa Regional Technical Director for Operations, Hon. Antonio Jose Rebong III (2nd from right) and Sofronio Baranda, OIC of Provincial Agriculture Office (far right). (Photo by Denice Joelle Benosa, RAFIS, DA-MiMaRoPa)