By URIEL QUILINGUING
Contributing Editor .
MALAYBALAY City –Some 8,345 hectares of corn and palay farmlands here and in six municipalities of Bukidnon have dried up as a result of below normal or no rainfall at all for over two months in the province considered as the region’s food basket.
Department of Agriculture regional director Carlene Collado, who met the agricultural officers of 22 towns here on Wednesday, said that as of March 11, the estimated total damage in corn and palay in the province due to dry spell has reached P30 million: P22 million in corn and P8 million in palay.
Collado said the damaged corn farms were in the towns of Kadingilan, 2,738 has.; Kalilangan, 1,840 has.; San Fernando, 491 has.; Sumilao, 421 has. and Kibawe, 187 has.; and the city of Malaybalay, 97 has.
The municipalities, except for Kalilangan, reported damages in palay either due to wilting or stunted growth to the DA RFO 10: San Fernando, 80 has.; Kadingilan, 47 has.; Malaybalay, 38 has.; Kibawe, 24 has.; and Sumilao, 18 has.
Worst hit were 2,365 hectares of palay farms in Quezon town.
Vegetable productions in Sumilao and Malaybalay involving a combined 29 hectares were slightly affected by lack of rainfall.
Corn growers, whose harvests are primarily intended for animal and poultry feeds and for food and flour processing and manufacturing firms, were hardest hit since corn are rain-dependent compared to palay.
Large palay farms in Bukidnon, particularly those in Valencia, are irrigated and these can withstand dry months.
“We’re looking on a (palay planting) calendar that starts in November so those who planted on that month must have already done harvesting,” Collado said during an interaction with news reporters on Tuesday in Cagayan de Oro.
Engr. Paul Gamotin of the National Irrigation Administration said it is also the same calendar his agency is looking at, and they are optimistic most of the palay planted have already been harvested.
“For NIA-assisted farms, where irrigation systems are provided, palay production is not affected,” Gamotin said.
Farmers in Misamis Oriental also had below normal rainfall conditions which devastated some 205 hectares of corn farms, particularly in the Alubijid, Villanueva, and Balingasag towns as well as in the cities of El Salvador and Cagayan de Oro. Six hectares in El Salvador that was planted with palay also dried up.