Ilocos farmers fear poor crops as El Niño limits water

Vintar, Ilocos Norte’s farmers are facing reduced vegetable yields due to the growing impact of El Niño.

Their troubles are compounded by the quick drop in well water, along with falling levels at Sarrat’s San Cristobal Dam.


Officials warn the lack of rain is bad news for growers, particularly where tobacco sowing is underway. Without rain, they’re worried their plants will wither, and they’ll have no crops to gather.

Dependence on well water is essential for watering crops. Getting water from wells in some villages is harder. To cope, farmers are now planting more profitable crops for a short time.

The Task Force El Niño reports that crop destruction in Regions 9 and 6 totals roughly P150 million in damages.


“The bulk of that damage is in rice and corn. For rice, it’s P141.24; and then for corn, that’s P10.04 million. So two regions pa lang po ang severely affected, but as I said, the task force is doing all it can to help the farmers affected by the situation,” Assistant Secretary Joey Villarama said.

Ilocos farmers fear poor crops as El Niño limits water

Work continues on fixing water channels to improve irrigation. Farm nutrients are also supplied to the hardest-hit areas, especially in Western Visayas and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

The Philippine weather agency reports that provinces hit by El Niño dropped from 50 to 41. Seventeen provinces face dryness, ten deal with a dry spell, and fourteen suffer from drought.


“There’s social protection and alternative means of livelihood doon po sa nasalanta o naapektuhan talaga. So, as the President has emphasized, our approach to El Niño is, number one, intervention; number two, mitigation; and then, we enjoined everyone – it’s a whole of government approach,” Villarama said.

Meanwhile, the state weather agency PAGASA reports a drop in El Niño-impacted provinces from 50 to 41, as Task Force El Niño confirmed at their recent gathering.

“PAGASA also noted the reduction in the number of provinces affected by El Niño. From a total of 50 affected areas based on January 21, 2024 assessment to now 41 affected provinces,” the task force said.

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