Several hectares (ha) of rice paddies in towns of the province of Bohol, which is considered as the rice bowl in Central Visayas, were affected in varying degrees by the El Niño phenomenon.
Evelyn T. Maligsa, head of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist’s (OPA) planning division, reported this on Wednesday based on the partial consolidated report on damage assessment for rice paddies in 18 towns.
A total of 7,616 ha are affected, 2,352 ha are totally damaged and 2,278 ha are partially damaged, she added.
Maligsa said the partial consolidated reports were gathered from the municipalities of Buenavista, Jagna, Batuan, Carmen, Alicia, Getafe, Bilar, Duero, Mabini, Bien Unido, Calape, Dagohoy, Balilihan, Sagbayan, Antequera, Garcia Hernandez, Danao and Trinidad.
Bien Unido registered the largest damaged area at 993 ha.
Damaged areas include the rice lands covered by the service areas of dams and communal irrigation system (CIS).
Most of the crops incurring damage were those in rain-fed areas, Maligsa added.
According to Engr. Evelyn Putong of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) 7, of the 3,047 ha of operational areas being served by Bayongan Dam in San Miguel, there were nine ha reported damaged and of the 858 ha of operational areas under the Cayapas Dam in Ubay, there were 10 ha reported damaged.
There were no reported damages of the 4,016 ha and 781 ha of operational areas being served by Malinao Dam in Pilar and Talibon Dam in Talibon, respectively, she said.
The statement was issued during the Provincial Coordinating Committee for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCCAF) meeting last Wednesday held at NIA Regional Office 7 in Dao District, Tagbilaran City.
In Tubigon, 80 ha were reported damaged of the total 489 has. of operational areas served by CIS, while in Lila 5 has. of the 13 has. of operational areas under the CIS were reported damaged.
Putong also reported the water levels of the four major dams in Bohol as of Tuesday: Malinao Dam; actual – 151.94 meters (ms.), at full – 152.00ms., critical – 146.5ms.; Bayongan Dam: actual – 44.00ms., at full-52.00ms., critical – 41.00ms.; Capayas Dam: actual – 33.27 ms., at full – 36.05ms, critical – 30.00ms.; Talibon Small Reservior Irrigation System: actual – 25.90ms., at full – 30.00ms., critical – 21.00ms.
She said that they continued implementing the alternate wetting and drying, daily monitoring of irrigated areas, strict implementation of water delivery schedule, information dissemination and introduction of upland rice variety and other diversified crops for the rice areas.
Putong expressed optimism that natural rains will start in June bared that it is good if there are natural rains to come in June to ensure that the Boholano farmers could plant rice in the next cropping season.
She said although artificial rain is needed from cloud seeding operations, the volume of water cannot suffice the needs for land preparation before planting in some locations, particularly rain-fed areas, since CSOs prioritize watershed areas.
The Provincial Government of Bohol (PGBh) plans to conduct CSOs to save agricultural crops and livestock amid the dry spell.
The PGBh has a standby fund of P2.3 million approved and the P25 million allocations from the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) downloaded to the DA-RFO7 and ready to be used. (Atoy Cosap)