Bohol farmers reeling from drought due to El Niño
CARMEN, Bohol — The rice bowl of Central Visayas has been reeling from the drought brought on by El Niño.
Farmers have reported that their palay had either wilted or were burned due to the intense heat of the sun.
The lack of water caused the palay of Orcesio Amoy planted in an 8,000-square meter farm lot in Sitio Camanayon, Barangay Buenos in Carmen to wilt.
His rice paddies had cracked due to lack of water while the palay had turned yellow as these started to wilt.
Amoy said he was expecting a huge financial loss.
Last year, he was not able to recover the P20,000 he invested in farm inputs after suffering from a dry spell.
Gerry Quita, a farmer from Sierra-Bullones, said the intense heat burned some of the stalks while others had wilted.
Those that survived did not grow as tall.
“It is very hot. I planted late so my palay were burned,” he said.
He relied on rains that didn’t come due to the drought.
Bohol is known as the rice bowl of Central Visayas.
Farmers are expected to produce a total average of 200,000 metric tons of palay (paddy rice) which could generate at least 100,000 metric tons of milled rice that can feed about 1.1 million people for one year.
The agriculture sector in the province remains a major source of employment and livelihood, with 42 percent of the province’s population working or dependent on agriculture.
The province has a total of 46,587 hectares for rice farming, which is 25 percent of the agricultural land area of the province at 185,276 hectares.
Of the 46,587 hectares, 24,000 are irrigated. The rest rely on rain.
In 2015 and 2017, Bohol produced 66 percent of Central Visayas’ rice production.
Bohol produced a total of 238,728 metric tons in 2017 and 252, 816 metric tons in 2015, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The production was down to 161,003 metric tons in 2016 due to a prolonged dry spell.
The water supply in various irrigation systems – Malinao Dam in Pilar town, Bayongan Dam in San Miguel town, Capayas in Ubay town and Zamora Dam in Talibon town- have also dwindled.
In Malinao Dam, the water level continues to drop to a ”critical” level.
It is now lower than the 152-meter normal water level.
Some parts of waterbeds of Malinao Dam were already exposed, creating island-like grounds or large cracks on the dam.
Some springs and creeks in the province are also drying up.
Acting Provincial Agriculturist Larry Pamugas said the water levels in these dams could last until May.
He said their office would conduct cloud seeding operations in May to protect possible damage to croplands and in preparation for the next cropping season.
The cloud seeding operations have a budget of P2.3 million from the funds of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.
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