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MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) reported on Monday, May 25, that the damage to crops caused by the continuing dry spell has reached P2.19 billion ($49.13 million).
The dry spell already affected 29,714 hectares of rice, 14,298 of which may not recover. DA placed the damage at P1.21 billion ($27.15 million), and pegged the number of affected farmers at 25,086.
Rice production areas in Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Zamboanga peninsula, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Davao City, Davao del Sur, Campostella Valley, Davao del Norte, North Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Agusan del Norte are affected by the dry spell.
The prevailing dry spell is expected to affect domestic palay production as plantings have been delayed. This has prompted the government to import an additional 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice, which will arrive before July 1.
Importation of another 250,000 MT is on standby. It will be used in the event that domestic production suffers significant losses due to dry spell.
The National Food Authority will accept and open tenders for the supply contract of 250,000 metric tons on June 5.
The DA also revised this year’s palay production target to 19.02 million MT from the original target of 20 million MT.
Corn also sustained damage worth P958.43 million ($21.51 million), with 27, 187 hectares affected and 22, 319 hectares of corn cultivation areas are beyond recovery.
Corn cultivation areas in Masbate, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Sarangani, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat are affected by the dry spell.
Damage to high value crops also rose to P19.46 million ($436,629.51). There are 210 hectares of production areas affected, 100 hectares of which may not recover. Affected were production areas in Masbate, Misamis Oriental, and Agusan del Norte.
As mitigating measures, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the department is coordinating with the National Irrigation Administration to fast track the establishment of small-scale irrigation projects and construction of rainwater harvesting facilities.
The DA is distributing drought-resistant palay seeds and assisting farmers adjust their cropping season.
Alcala said the department is conducting this year a comprehensive soil mapping on 11.2 million hectares of land to determine the nutrient content of agricultural lands. This will be carried out by the Bureau of Soils and Water Management and is meant to increase the productivity of agricultural lands.
DA has completed soil mapping in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol, and the Zamboanga Peninsula. – Rappler.com
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