Crop damage in NorMin due to El Niño: P2.3B

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/01 May) – Crop damage caused by the prolonged El Niño phenomenon in Northern Mindanao has reached P2.3 billion and the figure may yet increase, the Department of Agriculture in Region 10 said.

“After our meeting the other day here in Cagayan de Oro City, we have validated the final figure of the damage brought by the severe drought due to the El Niño phenomenon to be P2.3 billion,” said Mary Grace Sta. Elena, chief of Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Division of DA.

Sta. Elena said that based on the reports from their field teams the drought had affected 6.946 hectares of rice fields, 28,893 has of corn, 844 has of cassava, and 4,272 has of high value crops like vegetables, fruit trees and bananas as of April 28.

Lealyn A. Ramos, DA 10 regional director, said in a statement that P177 million from the Quick Response Fund will be released to the provincial governments through the Provincial Agriculture Offices.

“The funds will be downloaded to the provincial government, who, in turn, will allocate the assistance to the municipalities under their respective provinces. The LGUs are given the authority to do the procurement process of the seeds for rice, corn and vegetables and pump and engines for distribution.

“However, the pumps and engines are given only to farmer associations or to LGUs as common service facility, wherein these could be borrowed by group of farmers based on priority needs. In addition, an LGU has to liquidate the funds they will receive based on the usual accounting and auditing rules not later than August 2016,” Ramos explained.

According to the data from the DA-Regional Field Office 10, the province of Bukidnon will receive P128,949,273, Lanao del Norte P24,121,552, Iligan City P2,109,724, Misamis Occidental, P6,675,449, Misamis Oriental P11,234,200, Cagayan de Oro P2,055,092.00 and Camiguin P1,325,961.

“The DA has already set in place 58 units water pump and engines with complete accessories, of which 16 units were given to the province of Bukidnon, 2 for Camiguin, 16 for Lanao del Norte, 13 for Misamis Occidental and 11 units for Misamis Oriental.

In addition, 71 units are now on procurement stage which will be distributed to the following provinces: 17 for Bukidnon, 3 for Camiguin, 18 for Lanao del Norte, 18 for Misamis Occidental and 15 for Misamis Oriental. The affected farmers can also avail assistance from the LGUs through their calamity fund. The provincial governments are now on the process of determining the amount intended for recovery and rehabilitation of crops and livestock in their respective provinces that would be distributed to the affected municipalities,” Sta. Elena added.

She assured a team from their office will check if the assistance has reached the beneficiaries.

DA 10 will release the fund only after the May 9 elections. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)