DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 April) — Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said he was open to giving financial assistance to farmers affected by the El Nino phenomenon in the farming districts of the city after the City Agriculturist’s Office last week estimated crop losses of at least P2 billion.
This, after the Department of Agriculture said in a statement that it was already too late for cloudseeding operations as the damage to crops have already been too severe and unrecoverable.
Duterte said the farmers were already being bled dry by available measures to respond to drought, citing the need to pay for services of the National Irrigation Administration.
Michael Alexis Nota, Bureau of Soils and Water Management project development officer, said in a statement called severe the damage of the phenomenon to crops, especially corn.
Duterte said he hoped the city could also access some of its natural sources of water, especially in the uplands, to help mitigate the dry spell affecting the farmers.
DA regional director Remelyn Recoter asked farmers to report their crop losses to their municipal agriculturists, who will in turn coordinate the information to the concerned DA regional office for the replacement of seeds and other forms of assistance.
According to the DA release, Davao del Norte could still benefit from cloudseeding, with at least P3 million allocated for cloudseeding operations in the banana-producing province.
The DA’s high value crop development program places Davao del Norte’s banana industry to be at 23,772 hectares.
According to the DA, the province has also counterparted P10 million for the cloudseeding operations.
“We will not conduct cloud seeding in Davao City because the damage is already big and it can’t be recovered. Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur have a minimal damage and it does not require cloud seeding intervention,” Nota said.
Dr. Rafael Mercado, assistant regional director for research and regulatory, said the agency has prepared 6,923 bags corn seeds as buffer stock while the rice program has prepared 4,200 bags certified rice seeds, 1,130 bags registered rice seeds , 125 units Pump Irrigation System and 5 units Pump Irrigation System (Open Source for rehabilitation).
For the high value crops program, the DA has prepared 575 drums, 66 bags mungbean, one unit spring development and one unit farm reservoir.
In an earlier report, City Agriculturist Rocelio Tabay said the dry spell threatens to affect 11,151 farmers working in 7,075.15 hectares of farmlands in Paquibato, Marilog, Toril, Tugbok and Baguio Districts. (MindaNews)