CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan – Damage to agriculture in areas hit by rains brought by Tropical Storm Pepito in this province has been estimated at PHP36.78 million.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said the palay (unhusked rice) sector suffered some PHP29.46 million in losses while damage to the fishery sector was pegged at PHP7.32 million.
Noel Miranda, federation president of the Irrigators Associations of Pandi, Bustos, Plaridel, and Bocaue Working Station No. 2 in Bulacan, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday that most of the palay crops in the South Zone service area of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) that are about to be harvested in the next few days were badly hit by the weather disturbance.
Miranda said winds and heavy rains caused palay crops to lodge and were starting to decay in the fields.
He said mechanical rice harvesters could not be used to harvest the crops because the fields are flooded.
“Madaming maluluging magsasaka, lalo na sobrang baba ng presyo ng palay ngayon. Nasa PHP12 to PHP13 per kilo na lang po, baka mas bumaba pa kasi dumapa ang palay (Many farmers are expected to lose money, especially since the price of palay is very low at PHP12 to PHP13 per kg. and it might even decrease because the palay lodged due to floods),” Miranda said.
Liza Sacdalan, chairperson of the Plaridel-Guiguinto Irrigators Association, also said some farmers in the South Zone Service areas of NIA were not able to plant in the past dry season because Angat Dam had no sufficient water to sustain the full irrigation requirement of Bulacan and some parts of Pampanga.
Sacdalan said the harvested palay in areas that have been lodged by the successive rains is expected to be reduced by 50 percent.
Mel Domingo, a farmer leader in Barangay Santor here, said, “Nag-iiyakan na ang mga magsasaka sa amin dahil dumapa ang aming mga pananim (The farmers in our area are crying because their palay have lodged).”
With the low commercial buying price of palay and the expected reduction in yield, the farmers are in a quandary on how they could recoup their PHP40,000 to PHP50,000 production cost per hectare of crops. Manny Balbin / PNA – northboundasia.com