NEDA 11: Davao Region needs to climate-proof agri sector

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 April) – Farmers in Davao Region should adopt science-based methods in farming to climate-proof the agricultural sector, the regional director of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) here said.

“For agriculture sector, we need to advance a science-based, and climate proofing… We have seen the impact of El Niño in these past months on our agri production levels as well. Studying and basing our planting seasons on weather forecasts, climate proofing our practices should be foremost,” NEDA Region XI director Maria Loureds Lim said during a briefing on Thursday.

A woman farmer shows the black bugs that have infested her drought-stricken rice farm in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao. March 12, 2019. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

The performance of the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry, and Fishing (AHFF) sector improved by 2.9% in 2018, registering a total output of PhP 42.6 billion, propelled by the growth in agriculture and forestry subsector, which posted a 3.5% increase last year, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

Output in the fishery, however, decreased to P1.9 billion last year from P2.059 billion in 2017.

The AHFF contributed at least 10.6% to the gross regional domestic product of the Davao Region.

Losses of farmers in Davao del Sur due to drought had already reached P231 million as of March 31, with at least 6,507 affected farmers, according to the data released by the Department of Agriculture (DA)-11.

More than half of the losses were incurred by rice farmers in Bansalan, Hagonoy, Kiblawan, Magsaysay, and Matanao, which amounted to P155.655 million, with 75 hectares totally destroyed and 3,582.76 hectares partially destroyed, the data showed.

It added 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.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported on March 22 that at least 17 provinces in Mindanao would be hit by a dry spell while 11 provinces by drought that would peak beginning end of April 2019.

Areas under dry spell are 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 while areas 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)