NegOcc sugar sector suffers P366-M loss due to dry spell

A “sacada” worker is seen loading sugar cane harvests onto a truck in Negros Occidental. PHOTO BY PIERRE-EMMANUEL MICHEL

BACOLOD City – The sugarcane sector in the country’s sugar capital incurred a multi-million loss due to the prolonged dry spell brought by the El Niño phenomenon.

The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist reported around P324.5 million crop damages in sugar and around P41.7 million in molasses.

OPA senior agriculturist Japhet Masculino said the report did not indicate the affected local governments in the province as the figures cover an affected area of 42,424.86 hectares.

Masculino said mitigating measures for sugarcane farms are already initiated by the Sugar Regulatory Administration while OPA is focusing on rice, vegetables and other crops.

“The cloud seeding operations of the Department of Agriculture in May will also benefit sugarcane farms in the province,” he added.

The towns of Murcia and Binalbagan already posted P8.29 million and P7.13 million in rice production losses.

The extreme heat has affected 1,268 hectares of rice farmlands in 13 local government units, with total losses of P46.77 million incurred by 1,380 farmers.

The remaining P11.5 million accounts for production losses caused by pests like rats, rice black bugs and leaf blight.

Negros Occidental produces about 60 percent of the Philippines’ sugar output. (With a report from PNA/PN)

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