DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Total damages and losses to the agriculture sector has increased to PHP 4.35 billion as the El Niño phenomenon continue to wreck devastations to farmlands and agricultural areas in the country.
This was the report made by the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Operations Center of the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Sunday, March 31.
The agriculture department estimated the volume of crops damaged to 233,007 metric tons with a total coverage area of 149,494 hectares.
A total of 138,859 farmers and fisherfolks are already affected by the dry spell, which, the state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said will last until June this year.
The DA-DRRM said commodities severely hit by drought are rice with an estimated damage of PHP 2.69 billion, followed by corn with PHP 1.66 billion.
Areas rigorously hit by drought and are already declared under state of calamity include Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay, Cotabato, Maguindanao, Negros Occidental.
The DA has already released an amount of PHP 18.3 million to conduct cloud seeding operations.
Meanwhile, the DA-attached agency Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) has already earmarked PHP 95.875 million for financial assistance to 3,835 affected farmers in the country.
The funding will be taken from ACPC’s Survival and Recovery Assistance Program or SRAP.
Another government agency, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation has already paid the amount of PHP 43.083M for the insurance to 3,534 affected farmers on provinces in Regions I, III, IVA, VI and X, the DA-DRRM said.
Davao not spared by drought
Davao Region is among the areas affected by the El Nino with PHP 230.6 million worth of crops reported to have been destroyed, based on the report of DA-11.
The province of Davao del Sur is the most affected particularly the towns of Magsaysay, Bansalan, Kiblawan, Hagonoy, and Matanao.
A total of PHP 161.2 million worth of crops are already destroyed by drought in Davao del Sur, the DA-11 added.
Roy Jose Pascua, the focal person of DA-DRRM in Region 11 told Davao Today that around 6,500 farmers planting rice, corn and high-value crops were directly affected by the dry spell.
In response, Pascua said DA-11 has already dispatched 200 open source pumps in the affected areas.
Joint cloud seeding operations in Region 11 and 12 are also expected to start within this week, Pascua said, with a budget of 2.5 million pesos. (davaotoday.com)