Zero harvest for Narvacan farmers due to Ompong
ILOCOS SUR, Philippines – “One of the farmers told me that he did not even bother to see his farm. I might go crazy,” recalled Conrado Molina, Narvacan’s municipal agriculturist.
Narvacan, one of Ilocos Sur’s biggest rice granaries, was heavily pummeled by Typhoon Ompong.
Molina said that his town lost P236 million from rice alone.
He said that of the 5,667 registered rice farmers in Narvacan, none were able to harvest their rice because the earliest ones were supposed to be harvested next week.
Worse, many of the rice plants when Ompong came to town were in the flowering stage which meant they have no chance of survival, Molina said.
Narvacan is always badly affected by typhoons because of its location, which is on the delta of Abra River right on the wind path of the Cordilleras.
Molina said that the town agriculturists in Ilocos Sur will meet next week and he is certain his town is the hardest hit.
“We were the most affected during Typhoon Lawin in October 2016 and at that time, half of the farmers were already able to harvest. We had it worse this year,” he said.
Most of the rice farmers in Narvacan own about 0.5 hectare on average.
“About 960 hectares of rice farms had zero harvests,” Molina said. That meant about 2,000 farmers going hungry this year.
Mayor Zuriel Zaragosa said that the municipal council had to scramble for funds to help their farmers. He said that they would be giving 50 kilos of rice for the farmer’s food needs.
He also said that they would later be giving them fertilizers and seeds as they prepare for the next cropping season.
Only 1,200 farmers of the 5,667 are engaged in tobacco farming, which meant only about a fifth of the farmers would be qualified for the use of the Republic Act 7171 funds or the Virginia tobacco excise tax fund, meant to help tobacco farmers.
Molina said that it is fortunate that the farmers have not started sowing tobacco seeds for the transplantation by October or November. – Rappler.com