ILOILO – Five more municipalities reported losses in agriculture due to the prevailing El Niño phenomenon. These were Estancia, Leganes, Maasin, Miag-ao, and San Joaquin.
Most of the losses were on rice, according to the Provincial Agriculture Office’s (PAO) rice report officer Nancy Superal. She, however, said data were still being collated so she did not give estimates of the damage.
Farmers in the five towns planted palay on the last week November 2018; by January 2019 the palay withered, according to Superal.
“Ang 1st District hardest hit. As early as December nabatyagan na nila ang dry conditions. Pag-abot sang January nag-extreme ang dry conditions so ang mga standing crops either wala makapamunga ukon nalaya,” said Superal.
Miag-ao and San Joaquin were located in the 1st District or southern part of the province.
The five municipalities brought to 32 the number of towns that reported agricultural losses due to the El Niño. PAO previously identified the 27 others as follows:
* 1st District – Oton, Guimbal, Igbaras, Tigbauan, Tubungan
* 2nd District – Leon, Alimodian
* 3rd District – Badiangan, Janiuay, Pototan, Cabatuan, Mina
* 4th District – Anilao, Banate, Barotac Nuevo, Passi City, San Enrique, Dumangas, Dingle, Dueñas
* 5th District – San Rafael, Batad, Balasan, Barotac Viejo, Ajuy, Concepcion, Lemery
Estancia was in the 5th District, Leganes belonged to the 2nd District and Maasin was part of the 3rd District.
PAO had said losses in these 27 areas reached P401,040,848.63 affecting 13,630 farmers working in 11,092 hectares of farmland.
So far no local government unit expressed the intention to declare a state of calamity, said Superal.
PAO recently said farmers affected by the dry spell were covered by crop insurance if they have been insured with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture.
PCIC’s principal mandate is to provide insurance protection to farmers against losses arising from natural calamities, plant diseases and pest infestations.
Since 2018 the PAO had been encouraging farmers to have themselves insured with PCIC, said Elias Sandig, assistant provincial agriculturist.
PCIC also provides protection against damage to / loss of non-crop agricultural assets including but not limited to machineries, transport facilities and other related infrastructures due to peril/s insured against.
To counter the dry spell’s adverse effects, Sandig said PAO had been encouraging farmers to use high-yielding rice varieties.
They have been advised to also plant crops that need less watering at this time, he added./PN