Dry spell destroys 15,000 hectares Capiz plantation
by Jemin B. Guillermo
Roxas City (23 February) -- The dry spell caused by the EI Niņo phenomenon has already damaged 15,217 hectares palay and corn plantation in Capiz.
Bureau of Agricultural Statistics provincial head Eric Piansay disclosed that so far, a total of 13,352 hectares of palay plantation are already damaged by the said phenomenon.
Piansay said that the of the total damage area, some 2,769 hectares of palay plantation are on its vegetative stage with estimated losses of P24,833,494 which covers the value of seeds and other farm inputs.
He added that the expected production of the plantation which is at its reproductive stage is noted at 1,344 metric tons of P20,166,870 estimated value.
On the corn production, Piansay revealed that the affected area has already reached 1,865 hectares and 763 hectares with an expected value of P4,743,096 are already beyond recovery.
While the dry spell has started to damage the agricultural production of Capiceņos, particularly palay, Piansay said that there will still be sufficient supply of rice, livestock and poultry in the province.
With the National Food Authority (NFA), there would be no rice shortage in Capiz, he said, adding that even the price of basic and prime commodities is still within the normal situation.
On the other hand, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said that the Arroyo administration is mulling an emergency food assistance program for the benefit of one million rural families now reeling from an El Niņo onslaught that is likely to last till July this year.
Yap stressed that the task force in charge of the El Niņo mitigation program is working on said food aid with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Nutrition Council (NNC) as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has identified an initial 25 provinces that have been experiencing below-normal rainfall since the August to December 2009 period.
The drought-stricken provinces pinpointed by PAGASA in its El Niņo advisory No. 6 include Capiz, Iloilo, Antique, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Benguet, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Batangas, Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino.
Yap disclosed that alongside said food aid, the task force is also studying such mitigation programs as livelihood projects and farm input subsidies for farmers who can no longer plant at this point as a result of the prolonged dry spell. (PIA) [top]