El Niño drought destroys P18.5-M crops in Ilocos

>> Wednesday, June 15, 2016

By Jun Elias and Manny Galvez

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – El Niño has destroyed  P18.5 million worth of agricultural crops in the Ilocos Region, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA). 
Ed Gonzales, DA regional technical director, said farmers in La Union and Pangasinan suffered the most extensive loss to rice at P17.9 million. 
Damage to corn and high- value crops were placed at P705,000 and P94,000, respectively. 
“Our estimate was based on reports we gathered at the height of El Niño in the region from February to April,” Gonzales said.   
Reports show that 890 hectares of rice fields, 134 hectares of cornfields and around four hectares planted with high value crops were damaged.
Irrigation supply
Meanwhile, the National Irrigation Administration has released water from the Pantabangan Dam to irrigate over 100,000 hectares of farmlands in Nueva Ecija and Central Luzon.
Florentino David, operations manager of the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (UPRIIS), which operates the Pantabangan Dam, said they opened the dam’s intake gates on Wednesday.
David said 114,594.94 hectares of farmlands in Nueva Ecija, San Miguel and San Ildefonso towns in Bulacan and Arayat and Candaba in Pampanga have been programmed for irrigation during the wet cropping season.
The UPRIIS cut water supply from the Pantabangan Dam on April 30 to pave the way for repair works.
David advised farmers to comply with the cropping calendar to avoid typhoons or flash floods, which usually occur in October.
Farmers in areas not reached by irrigation should utilize shallow tube well pumps, rainwater or water from creeks, he said.


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