July 17, 2024

The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera has reported that most of the 7,808 farmers affected by the El Niño phenomenon are those dependent on the rain for their irrigation and those located at the tail end of irrigation systems.

DA-CAR Agriculturist Crisante Rosario, during the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council meeting on April 11, reported the lack of rainfall and depleting irrigation water sources has significantly affected the region’s farmlands.   

While DA has irrigation network systems, which are the small-scale irrigation projects and the national irrigation systems (NIS) and communal irrigation systems by the National Irrigation Administration, there are some areas that are not covered by the system because of the limited water.

Also, some farmers planted late such as in late December thinking they would have more yield, which was not the case.

“Despite the dissemination of early warning advisories on El Niño and information education campaign efforts, some farmers still took a risk to plant, especially those that are dependent on rainwater,” the report stated. 

Farmers that are also practicing monocropping or producing single crops are more vulnerable to El Niño.

Earlier, the National Irrigation Administration-CAR reported there is ample supply of water in the various irrigation systems for the 2,849 hectares of farmlands vulnerable to El Niño.

There are four national irrigation systems (NIS) in the region, namely UCRIS, which supplies Kalinga and Isabela; Waais, supplying Apayao and Cagayan; Hapid IS supplying Ifugao; and ARIS, supplying Abra province, supplying 59 irrigator’s association.

Aside from these, there are also the smaller communal irrigation systems (CIS) scattered in the various provinces of the region, supplying 1,449 irrigator’s associations.

The combined national and communal irrigation systems supply 84,217 hectares of farmlands in the region and nearby provinces which benefits 133,000 farmers.  

The agency reported there is a total production loss of P444,712.60 due to the effects of El Niño, affecting 7,808 farmers mostly producing rice and corn in the region.

Ifugao recorded the highest production loss with P232,146.19 while Mountain Province followed with P160,510.89 losses.

The municipal council of Mayoyao, Ifugao is the lone town in the region which recently declared a state of calamity due to the prolonged El Niño affecting most of its barangays. – Ofelia C. Empian