(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Wednesday, 04 August 2021) Southwest Monsoon affecting the country. At 3:00 PM today, a Low Pressure Area (LPA) was estimated based on all available data at 550 km Northeast of Itbayat, Batanes (24.5N, 125.4E). TROPICAL CYCLONES OUTSIDE PAR AT 3:00 AM TROPICAL DEPRESSION LOCATION: 735 KM WEST OF EXTREME NORTHERN LUZON (21.1°N, 114.8°E) MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS: 55 KM/H NEAR THE CENTER GUSTINESS: UP TO 70 KM/H MOVEMENT; EAST SOUTHEASTWARD SLOWLY Caraga Region will have Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Southwest Monsoon. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to Moderate winds coming from Southwest will prevail with Slight to Moderate seas / (0.6 to 2.1 meters).



Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Blanketing rekindles bayanihan

The Rice farmers in Cantilan town in Surigao del Sur have found an opportunity to earn extra income amid the challenges brought by the pandemic.

The local government unit (LGU) of Cantilan offered its farmers ₱7.50 per rat-tail under its program Oplan Rat Blanketing in a bid to contain rat infestation that affects rice areas in the town.

Cantilan has a total rice area of 1,800 hectares cultivated by 3,833 farmers.

“Digging, flooding, and trapping are the common approaches for rat control in rice fields but these measures are not enough. Instead, actions should be coordinated through an effective, community-based management strategy,” said Municipal Agriculturist Caesar Blanco.

The community rat campaign has been implemented since 2016 during the land preparation and harvesting season. For this year, the LGU-Cantilan allotted ₱100,000 in their fight to save their crops from the ravages of the high rat population. Aside from the reward system, farmers received ₱100,000 worth of rodenticides for free.

“The campaign aims to rekindle the 'bayanihan' spirit among the farmers with the collective action this will lead to reducing the losses brought by rat infestation,” Blanco added.

The program encourages the participation of the 46 farmers' associations and cooperatives in the municipality. Among those who stood out is the Tigabong Farmer Association. They submitted 2,552 rat tails with an equivalent amount of ₱19,140.

Alberto A. Ortega, president of the association, said he and the members search the field for rats usually at night time.

“Rats like to hide and burrow in weedy areas near major irrigation canals, so we know where to find them. The money we earn will be shared among members for our daily expenses,” said Ortega.

As of June, a total of 7,430 rat tails surrendered to the Municipal Agriculture Office with a total payment of ₱55,725.

According to Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Francis Louie Parina, one of the factors preventing the rice sector from reaching its full potential in production is the pest and diseases infestation and one of the major pests identified is the rat.

Parina cited the International Rice Research Institute study that farmers lose an estimated average of 5-10% of their rice crop associated with rat damage every year.

“The solution must be holistic. If we put effort to increase palay yield, we must likewise put effort to prevent the rats from decreasing the yield,” Parina said.

Synchronous planting, improved sanitation, and community action are the practices that farmers should adopt. These recommended management practices will reform farmers to become proactive rather than reactive.

The DA continues to strengthen crop protection services to deliver more efficient and sustainable management technologies and enhance farmers’ decision-making capacity in managing emerging or recurring plant pests and diseases. (Rhea C. Abao, Information Officer II - DA-Caraga, RAFIS/PIA-Surigao del Sur)