Saturday, March 6, 2010

Drought imperils rice Philippine terraces

Charlie Lagasca in Banaue town in Ifugao province, where the famous rice terraces are located, has been placed under a state of calamity due to the continued dry spell caused by the El Niño phenomenon that has dried up rice fields. “The terraces have practically dried up to the extent that even a slight rain could cause landslides,” said Banaue Mayor Lino Madchiw.

The dry spell has affected thousands of hectares of agricultural crops and livestock nationwide, and the drought now threatens Banaue’s world famous rice terraces, leaving the paddies parched and highly vulnerable to erosion. The drought has damaged P65 million worth of palay, vegetables, fruits, and livestock.

Because of the drought, large earthworms have penetrated the paddies and endangered the terraces, which is a World Heritage Site and one of the country’s top tourist attractions. The perceived lack of interest among young Ifugao natives to tend to the centuries-old terraces has aggravated the degradation of the terraces, sometimes referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

…Two of the terrace clusters in Banaue, namely Bangaan and Batad, have been inscribed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site. International experts have been sent by UNESCO to Banaue to help locals preserve the terraces. Local officials of several towns in Luzon and the Visayas also plan to declare a state of calamity in their areas after agricultural crops and livestock have been wiped out by the current dry spell.

Rep. Anna York Bondoc of the fourth district of Pampanga reported yesterday that eight towns in her province are expected to declare a state of calamity in areas affected by the drought that threatens 14,000 hectares of rice land where irrigation water has been cut off….

Banaue rice terraces, shot by JohnMarcelo, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons CC0 waiver.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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