Recovery plans of 10 drought-affected areas in Davao region to cost DA PhP 300-M

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 May) – Ten local government units in the Davao region out of 19 that were placed under a state of calamity due to the drought have submitted their recovery plans which would cost the regional Department of Agriculture (DA) about P300 million, an official said Monday.

A state of calamity was declared in 17 towns and two cities in the region this year due to the El Nino phenomenon.

But Joedel Leliza, DA Region 11’s overall report officer on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, told Kapehan sa Dabaw Monday that the agency will not be able to cover all the cost for the recovery plans of the 10 towns as they could only provide about P43 million and additional P6.5 million from the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) 11 to affected farmers in the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.

The DA 11 report said the dry spell affected a total of 8,429 farmers in the region who lost some 14,951 metric tons of rice worth P219.983 million and 9,249 metric tons of corn worth P77.210 million.

The drought last year damaged P140.262 million and P107.902 of rice and corn, respectively.

Leliza said that for every damaged hectare, the DA can only provide as intervention, a bag of rice or corn to farmers.

Seventeen towns and two cities were placed under a state of calamity due to the drought: nine in Davao del Sur, Digos City and the towns of Hagonoy, Sta. Cruz, Matanao, Magsaysay, Bansalan, Kiblawan, Malalag, and Sulop; and Sta. Maria town in neighboring Davao Occidental; three in Davao del Norte — Kapalong, Carmen, and Asuncion; four in Davao Oriental – Mati City and the towns of Tarragona, San Isidro, and Lupon; and Maco and Montevista in Compostela Valley.

Only 10 LGUs have submitted their recovery plans: the cities of Digos and Mati and the towns of Hagonoy, Magsaysay, Sulop and Kiblawan, Tarragona, San Isidro and Lupon, and Sta. Maria. The rest have yet to submit theirs.

Although ending by July, Leliza said the El Niño’s impact on the production of crops will linger until September this year.

Some areas in the region have shown slight improvement after a series of rainfall lately, Leliza said. But DA, he added, is intensifying its information drive on expected La Niña season.

For rice, the DA recommends the planting of submergence-tolerant rice varieties; repairing of dikes, drainage, and irrigation canals; draining of excess water from rice fields before and after heavy rains; the use of windbreak structures and mechanical dryers during weeks of non-stop rainfall; establishment of floating gardens, and practicing rainwater harvesting and using small farm reservoirs.

Leliza said they also encourage farmers to adjust their cropping season to avoid the peak of La Niña in the last quarter of this year.

For corn, the DA recommends clearing of canals, discourages planting in sloping areas or at least establish contours, and establish canals in low-lying areas.

He said areas in the region that are expected to suffer most from La Niña are Carmen, Panabo, and Tagum in Davao del Norte; Cateel and Banay-Banay in Davao Oriental; and Nabunturan and Mongkayo in Compostela Valley. (Antonio R. Colina IV / MindaNews)