Written by the Web Team
Farmers need not panic about the impending drought that PAGASA projected. This is according to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice)-Isabela.
“There are ways to adapt to drought in case it happens,” Arlina Golonan, PhilRice researcher, said.
One of these techniques is Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD), a water-saving technology where rice fields are alternately flooded and drained.
Golonan said that this technology provides timely water needs of farms that do not have enough water-supply and helps farmers save up to 30% water.
PhilRice study reveals that farmers can reduce water by 16-35% without decreasing grain yield.
The Institute is conducting a technical briefing to explain this technology as the Magat Dam, the source of irrigation for the fields of most Isabela farmers, cannot supply all the needed water.
“As of last week, the water level is at 168 meters. The level is way below the normal 175 meters for the dam to fully irrigate the province,” Emiliano P. Camba, San Mateo, Isabela Municipal Agriculturist, said.
In San Mateo, Isabela alone, 1,503 ha out of 8,353 ha remains uncultivated due to insufficient water for irrigation.
The few instances of heavy rain in the past months gave only 2-5 meter water-level increase in the dam according to Jimmy Rillon, Agricultural Technologist of San Mateo, Isabela. He explained that this is still insignificant to fully irrigate rice areas especially those near tail-end irrigation canals.
“Should farmers learn and apply AWD technology, then water will be enough for every rice field,” Golonan said.