El Nino forecasts alarm Davao farmers
Banaybanay, Davao Oriental — Farmers in this rice-producing province were alarmed with the recent Pag-asa forecast which projected an El Nino dry spell by mid2010 that will devastate at least of nine of its 14 barangays.
The Davao region was classified as “moderately vulnerable” to the impact of the El Nino phenomenon which meant lesser rainfall this year.
“Dugang kalisod sa mga mag-uuma ang mamahimong epekto sa El Nino taliwala sa nagkagrabeng krisis sa agrikultura. Ang mga mag-uuma sa Banaybanay nga nagatikad sa kapin kon kulang 5,000 ektarya dugay na nga nakasinati og grabeng kalisud tungod sa kawad-on og yuta, sa pagkalubong sa utang sa Land Bank, sa kamahalon sa pestisidyo nga gikinahanglan sa mga hybrid nga humay,” said Lito Lao, chairperson of the of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Sidlakang Dabaw (ALMASID) – Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)
Banaybanay produces an annual yield of 36,000 tons of rice and benefits more than 60,000 families.
He added further, “Kun adunay madaot nga pananom karong tuiga, walay laing maapektuhan kun dili ang mga gagmay nga mag-uuma ug mga kabus nga mamamalit nga naga-antos sa padayong pagsaka sa presyo sa bugas.”
With this, farmers groups are demanding for long term and more effective solutions and called for an end in the the Arroyo government’ importation program saying that it will worsen the impact of the El Nino Mitigation Program.
For his part Pedro Arnado, regional coordinator of ANAKPAWIS partylist criticized the Department of Agriculture saying “the DA has claimed to have identified steps to mitigate the impacts of El Nino and yet it has continued with massive rice importation despite its negative impact to the country’s rice and agricultural industry”.
Arnado said that in December last year, the National food Authority (NFA) has awarded four foreign bidders a contract allowing them to supply the country a total of 509, 950 metric tons of rice.
“How can the local rice industry progress or even recover from its slump when the Arroyo government stubbornly refuses to support our own farmers and increase local rice production? Worst, Mrs. Arroyo has refused to initiate a genuine land reform program and has instead enforced the inutile CARP extension with reforms which has only worsened the anti-farmer policies of the old CARP,” said Arnado.
As a long term solution to the problem of food insecurity wrought by climate change impact and agricultural crisis, Anakpawis called for the enactment of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill 3059 which to date remains hanging in the Lower house that is comprised of a majority of “landed-elites.”