PROVINCES in the Northern Mindanao have started feeling the summer heat and the Department of Agriculture (DA) noted an estimated P292 million worth of total losses to rice, corn, and vegetable crops.
In a press conference on Tuesday, March 12, the DA in Northern Mindanao said a total of 2,577 hectares of rice were affected by the dry weather: 2,571 hectares of which are is in Bukidnon and six hectares in Misamis Oriental.
A total of 5,979 hectares of corn were damaged in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, and 29 hectares of vegetable plantation in Bukidnon is also affected by the extreme heat.
According to the agency's recent data, Bukidnon incurred the most losses to major crops. Total damage assessment to rice in the province now reaches P8,010,335, corn losses at P279,697,666, and P4,450,384 total losses for vegetables, Misamis Oriental also incurred a total of P64,782 losses to rice, and P7,129,000 losses for corn.
DA regional director Carlene Collado identified the most affected areas of the dry season as Kibawe, Kadingilan, Sumilao, San Fernando, Quezon, and Malaybalay City, all of Bukidnon. In Misamis Oriental, El Salvador City, Balingasag, Alubijid, Villanueva, including Cagayan de Oro are also among the areas affected.
Some 4,175 farmers in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental are already feeling the effects of the losses.
Collado said the figures are still subject for validation, as the extent of damage may still change. He also said they have advised farmers to stop planting since late last year, but some risked because of the little rain still present then.
“But now, the farmers stopped planting already,” he said.
Since last year, Collado said they have started distributing pumps and engines to aid the farmers.
He said buffer stocks of rice, corn, and vegetable seeds are ready for distribution, in case weather will get better by April.
Farmers affected by the dry season can claim insurance and apply for loans, he said, to help them get through the El Niño phenomenon.
Meanwhile, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration administrator in El Salvador City station Joseph Lucero said the region is currently experiencing below normal rainfall.
He said at the end of March, all provinces of the region are expected to be under dry spell. At the end of May however, only Camiguin may be affected by the dry spell, while Misamis Occidental may experience drought.
At the end of June, Lucero said rainfall will be more present in the region. (PJ Orias)