FARMERS in the Cordillera Administration Region are reeling from the effects of dry spell with over P1 billion reported damage.
Department of Agriculture Regional Operation Center said as of March 22, some P1.18 billion worth of rice, corn cassava and other high value crops were already damaged.
Corn had highest damage with P958.92 million, followed by rice with P207.05 million while damage in high value crops were recorded at P10.80 million and P3.76 million for cassava.
Majority of losses were observed in the provinces of Ifugao with P470.652 million damages followed by Apayao province with P456 million.
As of Monday, March 25, there were no records in Benguet and Mt. Province.
Earlier, DA-CAR Disaster Risk Reduction focal person Lito Mocati expressed as early as July 2018 advisories were provided by Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) of the El Niño, a natural occurring phenomenon affect the normal rainfall pattern in the country and extended period of dry season.
He added Cordillera farmers both experienced vegetable frosting and El Niño, which has a wider scope.
Livestock, according to Mocati, are not spared and there is reduced stream flow leading to insufficient water for irrigation following the reduction in yield and total crop loss.
Mocati said Aguinaldo town in Ifugao and Rizal in Kalinga where the first to suffer from the effects of El Niño.
The DA official expressed the need to harvest rainwater and urged farmers to allocate at least a quarter of their one hectare farm for vegetable produce which entails less water.
Senator Cynthia Villar, committee chair on food and agriculture, said on her visit in Mt. Province on March 14 that cloud seeding should already start to produce rain.
“Unang gagawin nila, magcloud seeding para maencourage ang rain, kapag hindi pa rin effective iyon namimigay ang mga DA ng mga seeds namumubuhay ng kahit walang tubig,” she added.