BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan — Some 963 onion farmers in this town, whose farms have been devastated by armyworms, will receive two bags of fertilizer per hectare from the provincial government of Pangasinan and a certain amount of cash grant from the municipal government.
Municipal Agriculturist Artemio Buezon, in an interview on Tuesday, said a total of 1,828 bags of fertilizer have been given to his office for distribution next week to affected onion farmers.
Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer (MDRRMO) head Genevieve Benebe said a total of PHP5.5 million in initial cash grant will be distributed to the farmers this June after they submit the requirements asked by the municipal government.
On March 12 this year, the town has been placed under a state of calamity due to the armyworm infestation that affected 868.56 hectares of onion plantations in 39 barangays, resulting in almost PHP5 million in losses.
Benebe disclosed that the MDRRMO will include in their plan next year the mitigation of crop infestations.
“Our office, being an advocate of climate change, we will also include agricultural calamity. Although this is not common as a calamity, its effect to the people is also devastating,” she said.
Benebe disclosed that her office will conduct information dissemination and research to aid the farmers in battling pest infestation.
Meanwhile, Buezon said the farmers can control infestation if they monitor their crops on a daily basis. He remained positive that the next cropping season would be bountiful given that the town’s farming areas have sufficient water irrigation.
The farmers in the town will plant hybrid rice while some will produce a variety of vegetables this cropping season, he said.
More than 2,000 farmers, including onion farmers, in the town have received three to five packs of hybrid rice seeds from the Department of Agriculture, said Buezon.
“If they (farmers) will follow correctly the packaging technology of the hybrid rice, they can yield four to five tons of rice per hectare,” he added. Hilda Austria/PNA-northboundasia.com