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June 2024

P77-M rice, corn crops damaged by El Niño in Negros Oriental

By Mary Judaline Partlow

PARCHED LAND. Banana plants and other vegetation are turning brown in some areas in southern Negros Oriental, as shown in this photo taken on March 4, 2024. The Department of Agriculture has reported that some PHP 77 million in rice, corn, and other crops in Negros Oriental have been damaged by El Niño. (PNA photo by Mary Judaline Flores Partlow)

DUMAGUETE CITY – At least PHP77 million worth of rice, corn, and other high-value crops have been damaged in Negros Oriental by the ongoing drought-spawned El Niño phenomenon, an official said Tuesday.

Alejandro Rafal, who heads the Department of Agriculture-Provincial Agriculture Technology Coordinating Office (DA-PATCO) in Negros Oriental, said local government units began submitting their drought damage assessment report last week.

In Bayawan City, the total damage to rice and corn was over PHP30 million, with 792 rice and corn farmers affected.

Mabinay town also reported roughly PHP18-million damage to crops, with 550 rice farmers affected.

In Zamboanguita, the dry spell wreaked havoc on 430 hectares of rice and irrigation worth PHP27.9 million.

Drought was so severe in the area that it rendered a small irrigation system out of service.

In northernmost Vallehermoso, damage was estimated at PHP1 million, with 88 farmers of rice, corn, and other high-value crops and livestock affected.

Rafal said the reports have yet to be validated to guide the DA, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Labor and Employment in the distribution of government aid.

Meanwhile, government interventions continue, such as the distribution of seeds for intercropping or temporary replacement in areas affected by the dry spell.

Rafal said there is a possibility that the cropping year, which regularly begins mid-April, will be pushed back due to the abnormal weather phenomenon.

On Jan. 19, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed Executive Order (EO) No. 53 to streamline, reactivate, and reconstitute the old El Niño Task Force under EO No. 16 (s. 2001) and Memorandum Order No. 38 (s. 2019).

Under EO No. 53, the President instructed the task force to develop a comprehensive disaster preparedness and rehabilitation plan for El Niño and La Niña to provide “systematic, holistic, and results-driven interventions” to help the public cope and minimize devastating effects. (PNA) QR Code

Published Date: March 12, 2024

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