Farmers in Negros Oriental are gearing up for their first cropping season in May this year despite the erratic weather conditions in what Provincial Agriculturist Greg Paltinca describes as a “wet summer”.
According to Paltinca, this year’s not so hot summer months have minimal impact on the farmers, although some of them have shifted to planting other crops, such as vegetables.
For corn farmers, it is ideally best for them to have a hot season to grow their crops, as corn is more weather-resistant than rice, Paltinca said.
Rice needs more water for irrigation, as he admitted that Negros Oriental has marked a decline in rice production over the past year due to problems in water availability and climate change.
From an estimated 70 percent rice sufficiency level in 2009, the downtrend began in 2010 and as early as this year, rice production plunged to about 31 percent, he said.
Still, the province’s staple requirements are being met, with 15,000 hectares of land, both irrigated and rainfed, which are planted to rice.
Major rice production areas in Negros Oriental are Canlaon City, Bayawan City, and the towns of Ayungon, Siaton and Zamboanguita.
Another key rice producing municipality, Sta. Catalina in southern Negros Oriental, however, has experienced a reduced sufficiency level after an irrigation dam in the village of San Jose in that town was destroyed by a typhoon a few years back and has not been repaired until today.
In Negros Oriental, 56 percent of its population are rice eaters while 44 percent prefer corn as their main staple, said Paltinca. (PNA) JFP