Dry spell damages P1.7B worth of grains, high value crops

Rappler.com
Dry spell damages P1.7B worth of grains, high value crops
The agriculture department says 21,317 hectares of rice lands are affected, 24,662 hectares of which may not recover

MANILA, Philippines – The prevailing dry spell has so far damaged P1.7 billion ($38.07 million) of grains and high value crops, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

In a report dated May 5, the department said field validation of agricultural damage is still ongoing.

Affected by the dry spell are 21,317 hectares of rice lands, damaging crops worth P1.035 billion ($23.18 million). The DA said 24,662 hectares of this total area may not recover, affecting the livelihood of 6,968 farmers.

Rice cultivation areas affected are in Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Zamboanga, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Davao City, Davao Sur, Campostella Valley, Davao del Norte, North Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.

Corn damage was valued at P605.6 million ($13.55 million), with 16,888 hectares affected. Out of the affected corn cultivation areas, 12,020 hectares are beyond recovery.

Corn cultivation areas affected are in Masbate, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Sarangani, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.

Damage to high value crops was set at P14.515 million ($325,208.37). Affected by the dry spell were 106 hectares, 45 hectares of which may not recover. Affected were production areas in Masbate and Misamis Oriental.

Cloud seeding

The DA regional offices are continuously monitoring the dry spell and would submit regular situation reports and actions taken to alleviate the effect of the drought, Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations Emerson Palad earlier said. 

The department is also coordinating with the National Irrigation Administration to fast-track the establishment of small-scale irrigation projects and construction of rainwater harvesting facilities, he added.

The DA also started distributing drought-resistant palay seed. It is also assisting farmers adjust their cropping season.

The department said it is also implementing greater pest control during the summer season to reduce the presence of crop pests such as borers.

The Bureau of Soils and Water Management field offices are also validating the extent of damage, to be used as basis for cloud seeding operations and installation of shallow tube wells. – Rappler.com

US$1 = P44.63

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