Crop damage due to dry spell rises to P12-M in GenSan

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GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The damage to agricultural crops here due to the prevailing dry spell brought about by the weak El Niño phenomenon has increased to about PHP12.4 million, as the drought affected more areas in the past weeks.

Elsie Villanueva, assistant head of the City Agriculture Office (CAO), said Friday their monitoring showed that the farm areas affected by the dry weather have reached more than 300 hectares.

Villanueva said the local government has recorded a total damage of PHP3.7 million for palay and corn, and PHP8.6 million for high-value crops. The affected barangays are San Jose, Upper Labay, Batomelong, Sinawal, Tinagacan and Olympog, she said.

She said the hardest-hit so far is Barangay San Jose, which reported a total of 102 hectares of affected farmlands, mostly planted with banana, and involving at least 32 farmers.

Some 23 hectares of the drought-hit banana plantations in the area were considered as totally damaged due to lack of irrigation.

“Our field personnel are conducting weekly monitoring to properly determine the status of the affected farms and set immediate 
interventions,” Villanueva said in a radio interview.

She said the value of the recorded damage increased mainly due to the affected banana plantation, specifically cardava and lacatan. She said there were also reported damages to cacao plantations in barangays Tinagacan and Olympog.

The official said they are hoping that the sporadic rains brought about by the low-pressure area in the past several days would allow some standing crops to recover.

“If the rains will continue, even just moderate, some of our crops can benefit from it,” she said.

The local government is now working on seed assistance for the affected palay and corn farmers, as well as seedlings for the damaged banana plantations, Villanueva said, adding that they are also coordinating with the Department of Agriculture for augmentation on other farm inputs. -PNA

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