Rains save ‘Gloria Rice’ farmers from drought
Manila Times, February 24, 2004

SABLAYAN, Occidental Mindoro—Rainfall this week has given rice farmers a reprieve from a doomsday scenario for “Gloria Rice” in this town, which has suffered from a prolonged drought from last year until some days ago.

Authorities are not saying the drought is over, though. If the rains do not make up for the great decline in water for the irrigation systems of the town, there will still be a need to ration water.

The drought affected most of the 1200 hectares of rice farmlands serviced by the Amnay-Mongpong River irrigation system.

The drought was almost sure to destroy at least 300 hectares of rice crop, or two percent of the total cropland dependent on the irrigation system. Fortunately, the timely rainfall early this week temporarily reversed the trend and saved rice farmers from huge losses.

Lina de Leon, the Sablayan Municipal agriculture officer, first raised the alarm when the National Irrigation Administration officials reported the drastic decline in the flow of water coming from Patrick River because of drought.

The decrease in water supply could also be attributed to the rapid denudation of the mountains through illegal logging and kaingin (slash-and-burn) planting method done by the aborigines.

Benjamin Atienza of the Sablayan-NIA office told The Manila Times the amount of irrigation water provided by the Amnay-Ompong irrigation system, which serves barangays San Francisco, San Vicente, Ibud and Paetan, has fallen from the ideal 3 cubic-meters/second/hectare to at least 1.8 cubic-meters/second/hectare.

Barangay San Vicente was the worst affected by the decrease, receiving almost zero irrigation from the system.

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