News and UpdatesIn the NewsEl Niño agri losses reach P80M

El Niño agri losses reach P80M


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As the El Niño phenomenon worsens in Negros Oriental, damage to rice, corn, and other high-value crops has reached more than P80.4 million, according to the Department of Agriculture-Provincial Agriculture Technology Coordinating Office.

Alejandro Rafal, provincial head of DA-PATCO, told the media that as of March 26, eleven local government units have submitted their reports on damage and losses — Mabinay, Zamboanguita, Vallehermoso, Manjuyod, and the cities of Bayawan, Bais, Dumaguete, Tanjay, Bindoy, La Libertad and Canlaon.

The number of farmers and fisherfolk affected was placed at 3,048 while the areas affected totaled 1,650 hectares.

Damaged were over 672 hectares of farmland with no chance of recovery, while more than 1,282 hectares were partially damaged, a report from the DA-PATCO showed.

Aside from rice, corn, and high-value crops such as certain fruits and vegetables, some livestock and poultry as well as fisheries were also affected by the El Niño, Rafal said.

According to him, the cost of total losses as of the latest reporting would be higher than P80.4 million, but three of the nine LGUs affected have yet to submit their individual reports on production losses in terms of value. These are Vallehermoso, Manjuyod, and Canlaon City.

On April 2, after the Holy Week break, the DA and the LGUs will begin a joint validation of the reported production losses to determine the type of interventions and assistance needed, Rafal said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) here said the drought in Negros Oriental is expected to continue until May.

Engr. Dan Caber, PAGASA local chief, said while the El Niño occurrence in Negros Oriental was reported early this year, the dry spell in the first weeks had transitioned to drought by early March.

He said the onset of the summer months will aggravate the already hot weather in the province.

La Libertad reported that 39 rice farmers with an aggregate total of 20.29 hectares in that northern town have been hit by the drought but have yet to submit data in terms of monetary value in losses.

As of March 26, the total number of farmers/fisherfolk in Negros Oriental hit by El Niño has reached 3,087 while areas affected were placed at roughly 1,670.5 hectares with a little over 691 hectares with no chance of recovery.
(Judy F. Partlow/PNA)



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