KIDAPAWAN CITY – Farmers and locals have started feeling the brunt of the drought currently occurring here and in M’lang, North Cotabato, officials said on Thursday.
Other towns across North Cotabato province have also felt the perceived effect of the dry spell due to the absence of rainfall early this year but are yet to complete reports of damages to crops and work animals.
The city government here started last week water rationing in remote villages as the dry spell started taking its toll on water sources, according to Psalmer Bernalte, head of the Kidapawan City disaster management office.
Bernalte himself led the water rationing as rivers, wells and springs have started to dry up. In M’lang, North Cotabato, the town council has passed a resolution putting the entire area under a state of calamity after 28 of its 37 villages have been suffering from drought since last month.
M’lang Vice Mayor Piñol said the severely affected farms are mainly rain-fed while others draw water from irrigation canals.
“Even irrigation canals have dried up,” Piñol told reporters in an interview, adding that the farmers started feeling the extreme weather condition since last week of January. Farmers in M’lang foresee losses if the situation continues.
Roldan Camo, a farmer in Barangay Upper Inas, said his expected palay harvest in March have wilted due to the extreme heat.
Pinol said the town disaster officer, Bernardo Tayong, was instructed to conduct validation so the local government, using its calamity fund, can immediately design an intervention to farmers.
In his report to the town council, Tayong said that as of February 28, at least 3,500 farmers have been affected by the dry spell.
“A total of 4,250 hectares of affected rice and corn fields have no chances of recovery,” he said adding that more agricultural lands have become parched due to the extreme weather condition.
He reported to the town council that an estimated P16 million worth of crops have been affected and damaged.
Among the immediate interventions the town has extended to affected farmers include fuel subsidies and water pumps intended for farm lots whose crops can still be recovered.
In Kidapawan City, Bernalte said rationing of drinking water, as well as water for cooking and washing, have been going on in Sitio Nazareth, Quarry and Puas Inda of Barangay Amas; Sitio Andagkit in Barangay Kalaisan; Sitio Lika in Barangay Onica and Sitios Balite and Talisay in Barangay Malinan. (PNA)