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PIA Press Release
2010/02/24

100,000 farmers start experiencing effect of El Nino phenomenon in Mindanao

Butuan City (February 24) -- At least 100,000 farmers in Northern, Central and Southern Mindanao regions including some parts in Northeastern Mindanao (Caraga region) have the reason to worry due to El Nino phenomenon.

The El Nino phenomenon has taken its toll in several parts in the southern island, not necessarily drying its farmlands, but reducing the harvest of thousands of farmers, most of them corn farmers so far.

The Department of Agriculture (DA), through its Regional and Provincial Agriculture Offices (RAO-PAO), is closely monitoring this current development on dry spell caused by the El Nino, including North Cotabato province.

At least P134 million were reportedly destroyed due to the effect of the El Nino phenomenon in North Cotabato.

The DA-PAO report in that province stated that some 4,643 hectares of rice field and 8,900 hectares of corn lands were badly affected due to dry spell.

At least seven towns and Kidapawan City all of North Cotabato province were affected by dry spell since January this year, DA-PAO report added.

Farmers in Caraga region, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte including Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands are already experiencing the effect of El Nino phenomenon.

However, DA officials on Tuesday assured the farmers that the government has already prepared a contingency plan to help the farmers on the effects of the El Nino phenomenon.

In Bukidnon province, based on latest figures released by the PAO office, at least 5,893 or nearly 10 percent of Bukidnon's estimated 60,000 farmers, most of them corn farmers experienced reduced harvest in the last cropping.

Bukidnon PAO report clarified the harvest dropped 10 to 15 percent as of last week.

In terms of land area, the reduced harvest was observed in close to 14,000 hectares of farmlands, based on the partial report on area by commodity, which the PAO submitted to the DA central office.

PAO reported that of the close to 6,000 farmers affected, 5,192 were corn farmers; 578 were rice farmers, and 123 were farming vegetables, legumes and cassava.

In land area, affected corn farmers own the biggest with 12,980 hectares or about 13 percent of the estimated 100,000 hectares planted to corn in the province.

But the PAO considers rice farmers as the ones who will be adversely affected.

They estimated that of the around 867 hectares of rice farms in Quezon town, 575 hectares have had reduced harvest due to lesser water in the irrigation.

Bukidnon PAO agriculturists estimate the reduction in volume if the rains do not come sooner.

They added that yield from Bukidnon?s 37,000 hectares of irrigated rice farms in the dry season from September to March will be cut from 120,000 metric tons to only 60,000 metric tons.

Meanwhile, Davao region gets a part of the P52-million budget set aside by the Department of Agriculture intended for the cloud seeding activities as a mitigating measure for El Nino losses.

Mindanao being the ?food basket? of the Philippines is closely monitored this time and mitigating measures as well as long-term interventions are being poured in the said area.

Farmers in Zamboanga Peninsula are now being enrolled under the Department of Social Welfare and Development?s food aid program, farmers in Northern Mindanao are also closely being monitored including their water source which is supposed to be on a 24-hour basis.

The RFU in Davao Region has started master-listing farmers eligible for the DSWD food assistance while SOCCSKARGEN has started distributing 800 bags of hybrid corn seeds to affected farmers and 1,300 bags of certified seed for flash-flood affected farmers. (muc/PIA-Caraga) [top]

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