Drought-hit Isabela loses P215M worth of corn

By Villamor Visaya
Northern Luzon Bureau
Last updated 06:24pm (Mla time) 07/26/2007

DELFIN ALBANO, Isabela, Philippines — Farmers in 19 of 34 towns in Isabela have lost more than P215 million worth of corn due to the lack of rainfall in the past two months.


Danilo Tumamao, Isabela provincial agriculturist, said at least 35,348 hectares of corn farms in 19 towns were hit by the drought. Of this area, corn plants in 27,117 hectares have chances of recovery while crops in 8,231 hectares have been destroyed, he said.


A field monitoring and inspection by the provincial agriculture office, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, and the Cagayan Valley Integrated Agricultural Research Center estimated the production losses in these farms at 62,558 metric tons.


“Signs of (corn plants) wilting have been observed, especially when there is intense sunlight. However, we hope that rains will fall soon so production losses will be minimized,” Tumamao said.


But he noted that the drought-hit area represents a small portion of the total number of Isabela farmlands.


A report from the Philippine Rice Research Institute in San Mateo town showed that 177,846 hectares of land were planted to corn while 189,252 hectares were planted to rice.


Despite the losses, farmers were hoping that strong rains would come in the next two to three weeks so their crops could survive.


“Awan ngana mangi mi… madaral ngana ta awan tu uran. Gittana sugal a talaga i pattolaymi (Our corn plants are useless now… destroyed due to lack of rain. This is like gamble for us),” said farmer Nestor Malenab.


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