El Niño damaged P161-M crop in DavSur

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DAVAO CITY – El Niño-hit towns of Davao del Sur lost at least PHP161.2 million worth of rice and corn crops, affecting close to 4,000 farmers since the severe drought hit the province late last year.

Roy Jose Pascua, focal person for Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) of the Department of Agriculture in Region 11 (DA-11), said on Friday that the amount could still go up as the dry spell continues to affect the province.

Rice farms totaling 3,657 hectares suffered PHP155.6 million worth of losses. Damage to some 321 hectares of corn fields is placed at PHP5.5 million.

“We are closely monitoring Davao Region, and Davao del Sur has been declared by the provincial government under a state of calamity,” Pascua said.

Of the 11 municipalities of the province, Pascua said the hardest-hit municipalities are Matanao, Hagonoy, Kiblawan, Bansalan, and Magsaysay.

As of March 14, Pascua said the totally-damaged rice and corn farms already reached 85.5 hectares and the total partially damaged farms at 3,893.4 hectares.

Based on the cost of production, the total damage is valued at PHP7.4 million. Based on the farm gate price, the damage is valued at P153.7 million.

Pascua said the farmers have been feeling the pinch of the drought since November last year. Some of the farmers, especially those in the tail end of the irrigation system, have zero production because the farms have been dried up.

Pascua said not even the continuous rains brought by Tropical Depression Chedeng could help alleviate the damage.

Davao del Sur Agriculture Officer Raul Fuentecillo said that El Niño has already affected some 7,800 farmers in the province.

Fuentecillo said Matanao town is hard-hit because the farms in the area are hardly reached by irrigation.

He said the province already requested DA for cloud seeding to at least save standing crops.

Pascua said there are still 5,692 hectares of standing crops that can be saved. PNA

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