CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/10 November) — Rice production in Northern Mindanao dropped by 11 percent in the 3rd quarter of this year compared to the same period last year due to the dry spell or El Nino phenomenon, agriculture officials said.
Department of Agriculture Region-10 director Lealyn Ramos said the dry spell affected the flowering stage of the rice planted in June and July.
“The flowering stage was affected by the dry spell. The flowers were not able to open fully to shed their pollen,” Ramos said.
Citing figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Ramos said rice production dropped by as much as 13, 737 metric tons worth P435 million this year.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration had declared the country is experiencing since July this year the strongest El Nino phenomenon ever recorded.
It predicted that the month of November will be the driest for Northern Mindanao.
Ramos said the dry spell has already affected 650 hectares in Kapatagan town in Lanao del Norte where its irrigation system was damaged by tropical storm Agaton in 2014.
She said the cash-strapped National Irrigation System was not able to repair the damage on the irrigation system of the rice-producing municipality.
She said the same thing happened in the province of Bukidnon where rice farmers were already fighting among themselves for the limited water supply from their irrigation canals.
She said the agriculture department has resorted to “cloud seeding” over Lake Lanao and Bukidnon in cooperation with the Philippine Air Force.
Ramos said the planes will be coming from Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro, a former commercial plane hub which has been converted into a military airbase.
“We are closely watching the weather updates and have asked the municipalities to monitor the rivers and other water sources,” she said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)