LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Cordillera office of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA-CAR) predicted there will be a thirty percent decline in the production of Kalinga rice farmers for this cropping season following the enormous damaged caused by Supertyphoon Lawin to the local agriculture industry last week.
Engr. John Socalo, the NIA-CAR regional irrigation manager, said the expected decrease in the production of rice farmers will be applicable to the farms covered by the NIA-assisted irrigation projects in Kalinga province.
Socalo reported NIA facilities regionwide suffered over P362.5 million worth of damages while damages to crops within the NIA assisted irrigation systems were initially pegged at P355.5 million.
“Our field personnel are still conducting evaluation and assessment on the extent of damages inflicted by Supertyphoon Lawin to our irrigation systems and the crops within the said systems, thus, we expect that the initial estimates will increase in the coming days as soon as we will receive reports from the field,”Socalo stressed.
The NIA-CAR official said the initially reported damages were inflicted on the agency’s national irrigation systems and communal irrigation systems that are situated in Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province.
According to him, if Kalinga rice farmers are able to produce 150 cavanas of palay per hectare, their production for the current cropping season will only be at least 100 to 105 cavans per hectare which would mean a significant reduction in their yield that could probably have an effect on the stability of the rice supply in the region.
However, he pointed out people should still be grateful to the Almighty Father for still sparing a huge portion of the region’s rice-producing province from heavy devastation by the strongest weather disturbance that ever struck the Luzon island.
Socalo explained most of the palay in Kalinga were on their flowering and vegetative stages when the typhoon struck the province, thus, the quite heavy impact to the expected produce of the farmers for this cropping season.
It will be recalled that the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) hoisted Tropical Cyclone Signal No. 5, the highest storm signal ever raised in the country’s history, over Kalinga, Apayao and Abra at the height of the supertyphoon.
Socalo explained Apayao reported minimal damages to crops during the supertyphoon because rice farmers were able to harvest their produce before they were hit by the weather disturbance last week.
He believes that the affected farmers will be able to recover from the effects of the supertyphoon, saying that the resilience of Cordillerans coupled with the support of concerned government agencies and local governments.