DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 Apr) – Farmers in Davao del Sur had reported that as of March 31, they already incurred P231 million in losses due to the dry spell, according to data released by the Department of Agriculture (DA)-11.
Jose D. Pascua, focal person for the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management of DA-11, said that a total of 6,507 farmers had already felt the impact of El Niño in the province, which had been placed under a state of calamity.
To help the farmers recoup from the losses, Pascua said the DA-11 had pre-deployed open source pumps and distributed buffer stocks of seeds, drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry, and chemicals for pest and disease outbreaks.
Cloud seeding activities had also started in the province since April 9 to cushion the effect of the dry spell on the crops.
More than half of the losses were incurred by the rice farmers in Bansalan, Hagonoy, Kiblawan, Magsaysay, and Matanao, amounting to P155.655 million, with 75 hectares totally destroyed and 3,582.76 hectares partially destroyed, the data showed.
DA-11 added that high value crops and corn farmers in Magsaysay, Matanao, and Padada had reported P62.4 million and P12.9 million losses, respectively.
At least 83.65 hectares of high value crops were totally destroyed and 1,882.71 hectares partially destroyed while, for corn, 66 hectares totally destroyed and 611.04 partially destroyed.
At least 17 provinces in Mindanao will be hit by the dry spell while 11 provinces by drought beginning end of April 2019, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported on March 22.
The dry spell would hit Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, Saranga Agusan Del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Basilan, and Lanao del Sur.
The provinces that would be affected by drought are Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Misamis Occidental, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
According to PAGASA, dry spell occurs when there are three consecutive months of below normal (21%-60% reduction from average) rainfall conditions or two consecutive months of way below normal (more than 60% reduction from average) rainfall conditions while drought when there are three consecutive months of way below normal (60% reduction from average) or five consecutive months of below normal (21%-60% reduction from average) rainfall condition.
PAGASA also reported that the Mindanao provinces would be under normal rainfall condition this month and, except for Misamis Occidental and Dinagat Island provinces, the Mindanao regions would receive near-normal rainfall conditions by May. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)