Coldest day so far this year but farmers ready

NO TIME FOR COLD FEET. Farmers prepare to deliver their harvest to the market in Mantalongon, Dalaguete. Cebu’s mountain barangays have felt the colder weather in recent days, but officials say that, at least in Cebu City’s case, they have learned to protect their crops better. (Alex Badayos)

CEBU CITY -- If you’ve spent recent mornings huddled under a blanket or found early baths a cold ordeal, you now have official confirmation of your troubles.

The state weather bureau recorded this year’s lowest temperature in Cebu at 22.4 degrees Celsius at 5:10 a.m. Wednesday.

Nedz Saletrero, weather specialist at the Pagasa Mactan, Cebu station, said January is the country’s coldest month, but the low temperatures extend to February. A northeast monsoon is responsible for the cold mornings recently felt in Cebu.

Last month’s temperature ranged from 24 to 29 degree Celsius. Last year’s lowest temperature was recorded on January 25 at 20.8 degree Celsius.

The winds prevailing over the country come from cold Siberia, where it is winter. But Saletrero said rising temperatures can be expected in the coming days, with the daily temperature for the rest of the month to range from 24 to 30 degree Celsius.

Saletrero also said the northeast monsoon is expected to weaken in the coming days. “Cebu will have party cloudy skies and sunny weather,” she told Sun.Star Cebu.

Warmer days will start in March as the southwest monsoon takes over. Pagasa forecast cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms in the Visayas today (Thursday) until Monday. (Pagasa stands for the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.)

About the same time last year, crops and cattle were dying in the mountain barangays of Cebu City due to the cold spell.

The mountain barangays are currently experiencing cold weather, too, but City Agriculturist Joelito Baclayon said that the weather this year is relatively better and the farmers, having learned their lesson last year, were ready.

“They have improvised technology to protect the crops while also covering these with nets. They have also improved their barns to protect the animals from the cold,” Baclayon told Sun.Star Cebu.

Calamity

About P11.5 million worth of crops and 36 animals died due to the “extreme weather condition” experienced last year, and the City had to declare 17 Cebu City barangays under a state of calamity.

Baclayon said he and the personnel of the City Agriculture Department have been monitoring the mountain barangays to ensure that no more deaths will be experienced this year.

Baclayon said he visited the mountain barangays of Bonbon, Buot, Sudlon I, Sudlon II, Tabunan and Taptap last Tuesday to monitor the situation.

“There were no reported deaths for either animals or crops,” said Baclayon.

The farmers, he said, have invested on nets and barns to protect their crops and animals.

The Cebu City Council also supports the farmers in the upland barangays.

Through a resolution of Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias, the Council approved over P2 million worth of irrigation projects in Barangays Agsungot, Tabunan and Lusaran.

Another resolution sets aside P310,000 for the purchase of 100 hoses and 100 plastic drums for the farmers of Barangay Pamutan.

Councilor Margarita Osmeña reminded her colleagues, though, that in the past six to eight months, the Council has approved a total of P11.3 million to buy hoses and drums.

Following the declaration of a state of calamity last year, P2.2 million worth of seedlings and crop and animal supplements were purchased by the City.

The farmers, Baclayon said, have already harvested the results of those seedlings. (RSB/JGA/Sun.Star Cebu)
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