The local economy of Irosin is basically agricultural. More than 70% of the families rely on crop production and farm labor for livelihood and subsistence. Agricultural land comprises more than 80% of the total land area of the municipality. Of the entire agricultural land, 63.9% is under sustainable use, 13.7% are under regular utilization while 22.38% are categorized as over-used lands. The approximate area of agricultural land devoted to permanent crops is 9,896.53 hectares. These are planted to palay, coconut, abaca and citrus. Coconut occupies 41.5% of the total agricultural land devoted to permanent crops while abaca is planted to 35.39% but bunchy tops and mosaic virus infestation significantly reduced the areas devoted to abaca. Palay occupies 21.93% while citrus occupies 1.11% of the total agricultural land devoted to permanent crops.
Palay, the staple food of many Filipinos is the primary crop being produced constituting 63.7% of the estimated peso-value of the entire agricultural crops being produced in the municipality. The supply of palay is sufficient enough to meet the demand of the population with surplus being shipped-out and sold to neighboring municipalities and even reaches as the islands of Samar and Masbate. Coconut and abaca, the local commercial export crop rank second and third respectively in terms of volume produced. Coconut and abaca constitutes 23.8% and 10.8% respectively of the total estimated peso-value of the entire agricultural crops produced. Citrus, vegetables, root crops, corn and fruits are the minor crops produced in Irosin with a combined value of only 1.7% of the total value of crop produced.
Livestock and Poultry
Poultry and livestock are the secondary sources of income of most families in Irosin. Swine and chicken whether native or hybrid is raised by more families compared to the other species of livestock and fowls. Swine are usually grown in the backyard for very small-scale commercial purposes with breeding stocks ranging from 2 to less than 7 breeders. The present cattle population in the municipality is still very miniscule. Carabaos are usually raised and utilized for farm labor as substitute to tractors but there are those who sell carabaos to traders. Native and hybrid chicken are either raised for household consumption or sold in the neighborhood or in the market whenever the family is in need of additional cash to augment the demand. Few families raise goats and other domestic food animals either for commercial or domestic consumptions.
The tenurial status of the total 5,833 farms with an aggregate area of 7,758 hectares enumerated during the 1991 NSO Census of Agriculture are either fully-owned, tenanted, leased, rented or cultivated for free. The fully-owned farm is 32.74% of the total registered farms, 44.7% are still tenanted, 9.22% are leased while the remaining 4.29% are rented or cultivated for free. The 9.05% of the farms under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) had been either sold or mortgaged to other people. The average farm size is 0.645 hectares and 1.928 hectares in the lowland and in the upland respectively.
The percentage distribution of farms according to size shows that 39% are farms below 1 hectare while 30% are farms which area ranges from 1 to 2.99 hectares. The farms with sizes ranging from 3 to 4.99 hectares is 14%, while 11% are farms with area ranging from 5 to 9.99 hectares. The number of farms with 10 to 24.99 hectares is only 5%, while the larger farms whose area is 25 hectares and above is only 1% of the total farms.
Various support infrastructures to agriculture are in place catering to the needs of farmers and agricultural workers. Agricultural farms facilities are mostly for palay production. These include hand tractors, sprayers, irrigation system, solar and mechanical dryers, threshers, ricemills and storage facilities, and farm-to-market roads.
The remaining forest cover of Irosin is 2,434.9 hectares or 15.53% of the total land area, which is way below the ideal forest cover for a good ecological balance. Lands classified as forest is 6.6% of the total land area of the municipality with an aggregate area of 1,048.40 hectares. The remaining 93.4% of the area is classified as alienable and disposable. The protected lands of the municipality fall under the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS), the non-NIPAS are areas along the banks of the principal rivers and its tributaries with an approximate area of 32.50 hectares. These areas serve as habitat for various wildlife, plants and micro-organisms and are considered as critical watersheds. A part of BVNP located northeast of Irosin comprising 1,048.40 hectares is a NIPAS area while Mt. Jormajam and the Cawayan Mountain ranges are considered as Non-NIPAS areas.
The old growth diptherocarp forests are already gone except for the residual regenerating second growth forests and forests under rehabilitation planted to mahogany, gemelina, acacia, narra and other tree species. There are two Integrated Social Forestry Projects in barangay Liang and Cawayan with an area of more than 106 hectares. Around 576 hectares of deforested areas within the BVNP were planted with trees under the national reforestation program of the government.
The remaining forest cover is in danger of over extraction largely due to ever increasing human population. Illegal cutting, conversion of forests into unsustainable agricultural uses and the introduction of destructive farming practices such as slash and burn farming and indiscriminate extraction of minor forest products are accelerating the denudation of forest and the loss of biological diversity.