Ilocos farmers welcome La Niña’s presence

LAOAG CITY — Drought-stricken farmers in this northern part of the country thank the heavens for the amount of rain it poured for the past few days here.

“It’s a blessing for us to have this much awaited rainfall. I don’t think La Niña will have a significant impact on us (farmers). It’s more of a favorable weather as we can now start planting,” said Angel Padron, chairman of the Provincial Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Ilocos Norte who is also a seed grower in the province.

Unlike in previous years where the impact of El Niño was not significantly felt by farmers here, he said that this year’s prolonged drought affected their major source of income.

“We were not able to plant (high value crops and vegetables) this summer because of drought,” Padron said citing this was further aggravated by still not repaired irrigation system by the National Irrigation Administration in Barangay Salsalamagui, Vintar, Ilocos Norte, which is affecting the north main canal such as in Vintar, Bacarra and Pasuquin towns.

As the current El Nino continue to weakens in the tropic Pacific, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) earlier announced the possibility of La Niña that now slowly taking place in some parts of luzon.

A La Niña event, according to the weather bureau is characterized by a persistent cooler than average sea surface temperature anomalies (below -0.5°C) over the tropical Pacific.

Rainfall assessment for the month of April showed that most parts of the country received way below to below normal rainfall except for the provinces of Compostela Valley, Agusan del Sur, North Cotabato, Pangasinan, Cavite, Rizal, and Metro Manila where above normal to near normal rainfall were observed. Further analysis showed that twenty-three (23) provinces including Ilocos Norte were affected by dry spell while twenty-eight (28) provinces, mostly from Mindanao, experienced drought conditions in April.

To date, farmers in Ilocos Norte took advantage of the favorable weather and they already started to plant rice this cropping season.PNA/