TABUK CITY, Kalinga: Rice production in Tabuk City in Kalinga is expected to decrease after a major irrigation system was damaged during the onslaught of Typhoon Ineng last month.
The National Irrigation Authority Upper Chico Irrigation System (NIA-UCRIS) main canal was washed out, when the Chico River swelled. As a result, the irrigation canal was flooded because no radial gate was installed to control the water volume.
Farmers could no longer meet their production target, said City agriculturist Gilbert Cawis, while those farming along the river bank have the option to take the risk to spend more since they have to depend on water pumps to irrigate their rice fields.
The NIA-UCRIS is irrigating 6,654 hectares of rice fields in Tabuk City and each hectare yields an average of 120 cavans, which is six tons or 39,924,000 kilos.
At the average, traders buy wet palay at P14 per kilo, which translates to around P558,936,000.00 for the entire area irrigated by the facility.
With the expected sharp drop in rice production, Tabuk City’s 2.7 percent contribution to the country’s rice supply will also be affected.
This is in addition to the 7,230 hectares affected rice production of Mallig and Quezon in the Isabela plains that are also being irrigated by the NIA-UCRIS.
The Office of City Agriculture Services is proposing an alternative livelihood for the affected farmers.
“We are planning to cluster the affected farmers to identify their needs,” he said, adding that one option is to utilize the farm lands for the production of cash crops like mongo, white corn, beans, water melon, among others as alternate crops.
The agriculture office in Tabuk City pegged that Typhoon Ineng directly affected 20 percent of Tabuk farmers due to the flooding of crops and erosion along the riverbanks. It affected at least 7,123.8 hectares of rice farms, totally damaged 311.5 hectares of hybrid corn on their flowering and maturity stages, washed out and flooded a total of 20,900 square meters of fish production areas, and a total of 14.89 hectares of high value crop production areas due to flooding.
The NIA estimates that at least P100 million is needed to repair the damaged portion of the main canal and wastewater structure.