Low water supply in upland farms


Almost 6,000 farmers are affected by the EL Niño weather phenomenon, the Office of Municipal Agriculture (OMAG) reported. The agricultural office cited the low level of water from various sources -rivers and springs, thus, affecting several upland farms and threatens local production. Areas affected are Barangays Puguis, Beckel, Ambiong, and Wangal. threatening the agricultural sector. “Yung source talaga ng tubig, bumababa yung level ng
tubig, kaya wala silang masiphon,” explained Nida Organo, Office of Municipal Agricuture (OMAG) , reflecting on the crucial issue discussed in a recent farmers’ meeting.

To date, farmers report a delay in harvest. “Leafy vegetables, broccoli, beans, cucumber, and even strawberries are the most affected,” Organo said Newly planted are the most vulnerable, Organo added. Farmers across the 3,500 –
hectare farmland in Barangay Bahong are also facing difficulties. Some of their produce including basil and anthurium are affected, and has failed to meet market standards due to water stress, farmers reported. Farmers in Cabanao, Balili, witnessed vegetable production halve from 100 percent to a mere 50 percent.

‘To address the limited water resources, community  cooperation is needed, and scheduling of water for irrigation,” Organo stressed. Farmers were told to avoid rivalry in acquiring water needs. To mitigate the impact, adjustments in agricultural practices are being implemented. The local government support to farmers through their association includes seedlings, farm inputs such as fertilizers, among others. With a limited budget of P1M for fertilizers we cannot provide the needs for all farmers, thus, strategic measures are being taken to maximize impact. Meanwhile, prices of some locally produced vegetables like cauliflower, went up from P40 per kilo to P60 a kilo,and cucumber from P50 to P70 per kilo.

Katrine P. Dumling | UB-Intern

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