SAN JOSE, Antique – Damage to rice and other crops due to the El Niño phenomenon in Antique now reached P49.593 million, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) reported.
Based on OPA’s May 15 monitoring report released on Tuesday, the prolonged dry spell has damaged a total of P36,147,942 worth of rice crops in 12 municipalities in the province.
Some P13,445,418 damage on the fishery industry and other crops such as corn, peanut, mungbean, and vegetables was also recorded.
“Rice farmers are the most affected by the El Niño phenomenon,” said OPA Senior Agriculturist Ramona dela Vega.
She added that there are 3,091 farmers who were affected by lack of water for their rice paddies.
The farmers, despite of the previous forecast of the El Niño, still planted rice during the months of March, April and May.
“The rice physical area in Antique is 42,154 hectares – of which 5,308 hectares had been planted [with crops],” she said.
Areas with damaged crops were Culasi, Patnongon, Anini-y, Tobias Fornier, Sebaste, Valderrama, Hamtic, Barbaza, Libertad, Laua-an, Pandan, and San Jose.
Dela Vega said farmers in these municipalities are their priority in the distribution of the certified seeds from the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“We have 1,900 bags of certified seeds buffer stocks from DA for which we have already given to farmers from Patnongon 61 bags last May 24,” she said.
She added that the remaining bags of certified seeds will be given to identified farmers by the Municipal Agriculture Officers of 18 towns in the province for their first cropping period. (With PNA/PN)