The Department of Agriculture reported an initial agricultural damage of Php 464.7 million, 22,918 metric tons (MT) of produce, due to El Niño. Report also stated that total damaged of farm lands were placed at 13,679 hectares affecting some 16,034 farmers and fisherfolks.
Accordingly, Occidental Mindoro, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Davao del Sur, Cotabato, and Maguindanao are provinces that were immensely affected by the ongoing drought.
Php 55.3 worth of agricultural damage was accounted from Davao Region. As cited in the report of Business World, “most severe damage was sustained by Matanao, Magsaysay, Hagonoy, Kiblawan and Bansalan, all in Davao del Sur, with about 2,000 hectares affected”.
In terms of crops, PHP377.85 million were recorded damaged with 17,233 MT volume production losses for rice that is being planted to 9,860 hectares, affecting 7,851 farmers.
On the other, “PHP86.42 million losses for corn were recorded with volume production at 5,686 MT. Total areas affected were 3,819 hectares affecting 8,183 farmers”, report stated.
With the ongoing El Niño, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol has already ordered the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to provide insurances for farmers who are affected by the drought.
Moreover, PHP18.3 million has already been released for cloud seeding operations to regional field offices. Piñol urged DA Regional Offices to implement cloud seeding operations.
In the case of Davao Region, “Councilor Marissa S. Abella, chair of the committee on agriculture, proposed the adoption of drip irrigation systems to help farmers.”
In her statement, she said that we need to upgrade our agriculture practices by exposing them to new technologies. However, it is important to consider that “a hectare of farmland would need about P70,000 worth of investment to set up a drip irrigation system, including the reservoir and other mechanisms”.