The La Trinidad Benguet municipal mayor assured that the yearly Strawberry Festival 2010 shall proceed this month as the required volume of strawberries for the various activities are ready for harvest.
Municipal Mayor Artemio Galwan said enterprising farmers with greenhouses and who used correctly recommended planting calendar devised years before by the Department of Agriculture (DA) were not affected by the prolonged drought due to El Nino.
Galwan has earlier assured the Department of Tourism (DOT) that the festival will be staged. The DOT has started promoting the festival as a national and international event, which regularly drew local and foreign visitors.
The assurance came after some farmers with strawberries still in their active vegetative growth cannot regularly irrigated their fields three times a week as they used to be years before due to the present drought in the area.
According to Galwan, the festivities are well coordinated and that “our local farmers have enough supply for the sale of fresh strawberries and local manufacturers are now prepared to take part in the trade fair for processed strawberry candies, wines, soap, jellies and jams.”
Meanwhile, the prolonged drought was partly blamed by the Benguet Electric Cooperartive (BENECO) for the two-hour rotating brownouts since Wednesday.
BENECO marketing specialist Leo Belingon said the ebbing water of the dams producing additional power for the Luzon grid due to the El Nino phenomenon has drastically lessened the power production of various hydroelectric plants in Luzon.
Further, the drought is now taking its toll in the whole of Cordilleras especially in the eastern side like Ifugao. DA has recently confirmed the death of many livestock and corn estimated worth some P1 billion.
Galwan said all local officials in the region are hopeful that the on-going cloud-seeding of the DA to give relief to the watersheds and dams. (PNA)