CAGAYAN – Thousands of hectares of farmlands in Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya are now dry and cracked due to lack of rain and irrigation, according to the Department of Agriculture-Region 2.
Damaged farmlands in Cagayan now total 2,768 hectares, while 525 hectares are damaged in Nueva Vizcaya, the DA-2 said.
Overall, 5,072 metric tons of palay are damaged while some 5,000 tons have been lost to farmers from their last harvest, the DA said.
"Wala kasing ulan sa ilang lugar sa Cagayan. ‘Yung mga nasa tail end na ng irigasyon eh hindi rin sapat para mapatubigan yung hectares of palay," Juliet Pedro, Agriculturist II of DA-2 said.
According to farmer Joel Bulay, he lost eight cavans of palay when he last harvested from his four hectares of farmland recently.
"Kailangan may ibentang ani para sa panggastos sa susunod na pag-aaral ng mga bata," he said.
According to the farmer, they would have to pray hard to get through the dry season.
The DA-2, however, remains hopeful that they will reach their target production of 4.16 million metric tons this dry season.
"Yung target na 4.16 million metric tons possible, kasi nasa 28 percent pa lang yung naani sa buong Region 02," Pedro said.
Another solution to the lack of irrigation, according to Pedro, is the construction of a diversion dam in Gattaran, Cagayan, funded by the National Irrigation Administration amounting to P67 million.
Pedro said the project will benefit 2,000 hectares of farmlands in Barangay Capissayan Norte. -- From a report by Janford Bonifacio, ABS-CBN News Cagayan