THE Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 has started using a drone to monitor places affected by the weak El Niño and to locate appropriate places for the construction of dams.
DA 7 Technical Director Joel Elumba said they flew the drone in Bohol and Cebu last week. Part of the aerial survey, he said, was to determine the extent of the damage on crops.
Elumba said 90 hectares of farms in Central Visayas were affected by the dry spell, 78 hectares of which are in Mabinay, Negros Oriental, while 2.3 hectares are in Balamban, Cebu.
Some farms in Siquijor and Bohol were also affected by the extreme heat.
DA 7 spent P2 million to rent the drone.
Elumba urged the farmers to harvest their crops, plant heat-resilient crops and avail themselves of the insurance offered by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp.
DA 7 has not received reports of damages from the livestock industry in the region.
Farmers should leash their livestock--carabaos, cows and goats--in shaded areas past 9 a.m. and let them drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and other health problems, according to Elumba.
The official said local government units should regularly submit report about the damages brought about by the El Niño, adding that these could be used as bases in declaring a state of calamity.
In Dalaguete town in the south, known as the “vegetable basket of Cebu,” Mayor Ronald Allan Cesante reported that farmers still had sufficient supply of water.
In an interview last Friday, March 22, Cesante said that while they had funds that could be used to help constituents whose livelihood might be affected by the weak El Niño, they remained hopeful that the town would not be placed under a state of calamity.
On Monday, March 25, the Provincial Board will deliberate on a resolution that seeks to declare the province under a state of calamity. (From FMD of SuperBalita Cebu, RTF, KAL)