Cebu News

Most of the 44 irrigation facilities dry in uplands

Iris Hazel M. Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Out of the 44 irrigation facilities in the mountain barangays to support farming, there are now less than 20 that are functional due to the impact of El Niño.

In an interview with the Sugboanon Channel, City Agricultural Department head Joelito Baclayon said that they have been bracing for the El Niño since March 2023 through crafting a mitigation plan.

These mitigation measures include short-term, medium-term, and long-term plans. Aside from this, Baclayon argued that their service to the farmers in Cebu City has been consistent even without the phenomenon.

He said they have been meeting with them almost every month.

“Duol g’yud nato ang mga mag-uuma sa bukid,” he said.

Previously, Cebu City Councilor, Pastor “Jun” Alcover labeled Baclayon a “liar” following his denial that the farmers in the mountain barangays did not face problems like dried-up plants due to the impact of El Niño.

Earlier, he also urged Baclayon to step down from his position as CAD head saying that he has been “inefficient” in handling the needs of the farmers during the El Niño.

Baclayon said they have been making caravans among the farmers to be able to hear their needs and provide them assistance such as hoses, pumps, and drums.

“Apil pa man gani ‘nang pagkuha og mga retention pond,” he said.

In collaboration with the National Irrigation Administration, there were at least 44 irrigation sites or facilities located in the upland barangays. Baclayon said that these were already irrigated to support plans such as vegetables, wheat, and corn.

Due to the ill effects of El Nino that is expected to run for at least two months, Baclayon said that out of the 44, there were now less than 20 remaining irrigation systems that are functional.

“Ang gisuyop niyag ayo is the surface water. The reason nga atong gitan-aw karon nga maka-address sa kakuwang sa tubig is katong lugar diin naa pay nabilin nga tubig nga kakwaan nila,” said Baclayon.

He added, that farmers will then bring water pumps to extract water supply from the remaining areas that still have water and transport it to their respective farms.

Last April 1 Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama declared a water crisis due to the impacts of El Niño. It was also last March 27 when the 28 mountain barangays in Cebu City were declared under a state of calamity.

Baclayon also assured that the farmers already knew how to deal with El Niño’s challenges as they were taught about water conservation.

In a another report by Sugboanon Channel, Baclayon said that despite the dry spell, only a few farmers reported to his office regarding crop damage.

At least 786 out of the 10,976 registered farmers in the city have been partially affected as a result of the El Niño since January this year, but he said that the ongoing El Niño has not yet affected the city’s food supply as more farmers have started diversifying their agricultural products.

Baclayon told CAD-trained farmers in the city to not just focus on one type of agricultural product to remain sustainable even during the lean months.

He also noted that the majority of the city’s registered farmers have cultivated their plots while the dry spell intensifies. (CEBU NEWS)

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