Davao region prepares for El Nino losses
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (20 February) -- Davao region gets a part of the P52 million-budget set aside by the Department of Agriculture intended for the cloudseeding activities as a mitigating measure for El Nino losses.
Agriculture Undersecretary Joel Rudinas briefed the Davao media Thursday (February 18) that provinces in Mindanao are less affected by El Nino as compared to some areas in Luzon and Visayas.
"Our assessment in Mindanao areas showed mixed results with some areas experiencing too much water while some are starting to feel the dry spell," he said.
He explained that farmers in Mindanao are so lucky to have planted rice earlier and that most of them are now safe and assured for the coming harvest season.
Farmers in Luzon, on the other hand, experienced a couple of typhoons last year which disrupted their farming schedule.
DA cited 14 affected provinces which include Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino in Northern Luzon; Bulacan and Nueva Ecija in Central Luzon; Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marindue and Romblon in the MIMAROPA; Masbate in Bicol; and Antique, Guimaras and Negros Occidental in Western Visayas.
In a situationer report of the DA, crops planted in 10,533 hectares have zero chance of recovery while those planted in another 147,633 hectares can still recover from the dry spell.
Of these affected farms, 35,360 hectares are palay fields with 56,696 MT of damaged crops while 122,748 hectares are corn fields with 144,359 MT of damaged crops.
"Farmers in Luzon expected something that later did not come. But many farmers in Mindanao have planted at the right schedule and they can now produce for what has been lost in Luzon and Visayas," Rudinas said.
However, he clarified that these assessments made in some parts of Mindanao may not be the exact picture next week and the coming months. He added that the El Nino is progressing and that the DA is also preparing for the worst case scenario.
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 DSWD's food aid program, farmers in Northern Mindanao are closely being monitored including their water source which is suppose 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. (PIA XI) [top]