MANILA – Around 600 hectares of farmland in Maguindanao are already drying up as the onset of summer season in the country is expected to begin in a few weeks.
According to the farmers of Barangay Lubungan in the town of Datu Odin Sinsuat, rice fields are turning dry and yellow, and cracks are also starting to appear on hundreds of hectares of hard surface.
Resident Angelito Mandig said now that rice fields are drying up, farmers like him are facing a big problem.
"Ngayong tagtuyot, 'yun ang pinoproblema namin eh, kung saan naman kami kukuha ng pang ano namin sa kabuhayan namin," Mang Angelito said.
Farmer Romy Andag also said that even their cows, carabaos and horses have almost no water to drink, especially because they only rely on rainwater for their crops and animals.
"Nahihirapan na kami. Kahit 'yung mga baka namin hindi makainom. Pati kami, nahihirapan na rin ang mga farmers dito. Ulan lang ang inaasahan [namin dito]. Walang irrigation," he said.
Rice retailers are also forced to increase prices by as much as P2 because of the short supply.
"Walang ani kaya tumaas ang [presyo ng] bigas—dos pesos (P2.00), 'yung ibang customer nagrereklamo na," businessman Samir Samad said.
Affected farmers are now appealing to the government to provide irrigation for their rice fields as the onset of summer season nears.—Report from Albashir Saiden, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao