Rats destroy 1,100 hectares more of rice and corn fields in Kabacan

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/26 Feb) — Rats have destroyed another 1,100 hectares of rice and corn fields, coconut and oil palm trees in Kabacan, including the barangays of Nangaan, Simone and Salapungan which were recently affected by armed conflict.

Kabacan is one of several towns in North Cotabato severely hit by rat infestation, reports from the Kabacan Municipal Agriculture Office said.

Tessie Nidoy, municipal agriculture technologist, told radio station DXVL in Kabacan that rat infestation damaged 748 hectares of ricefields in the barangays of Malanduage, Cuyapon, Kayaga, Upper and Lower Paatan, Kilagasan, Katidtuan, Sanggadong, and Dagupan and at least 400 hectares of cornfields in the villages of Simone, Nangaan, and Salapungan.

Even palm oil and coconut trees were not spared, she said.

Early last month, Nidoy’s office recorded some 1,357 hectares of rice and corn fields from 13 of the 24 villages in Kabacan town hit by severe rat infestation, destroying close to P12 million worth of crops.

“With another 1,000 hectares of rice and corn fields destroyed by rats, another 300 farmers with their families were affected,” said Nidoy.

The infestation started to hit Kabacan and nearby towns in North Cotabato in November last year.

Last week, provincial board of North Cotabato, through a resolution, declared the province ‘under a state of calamity’.

Records from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan showed that rat infestation affected nine of the 17 towns and one city in North Cotabato.

In Kidapawan City, the agriculture office here said rat infestation destroyed some P32 million worth of crops. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)