THE amount of damage brought by the prevailing El Niño phenomenon to the agriculture sector of Negros Occidental has climbed to almost P443 million.
The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (Opa) reported on Friday, April 5, that damage to the rice sector increased to P58.13 million.
The figure covers 102 affected farmers with total rice areas of 1,551.06 hectares in 15 local government units (LGUs).
The biggest amount on production losses was noted in Himamaylan worth P8.7 million and Murcia worth almost P8.3 million.
The corresponding losses of other LGUs are the following: Binalbagan with P7.1 million, Cauayan - P6.1 million, Hinoba-an - almost P5.2 million, Bago City - almost P4 million, Pontevedra - almost P3.9 million, San Carlos City - P3.7 million, Cadiz City - P2.4 million, Hinigaran - P2.4 million, Ilog - P2.2 million, E.B. Magalona - P1.8 million, Sipalay - P1.1 million, La Castellana - P826,019 and San Enrique - P732,990.
Opa also reported P4.5 million worth of damage in corn. It covers 102 farmers with 91.98 hectares of farms in Sipalay City, San Carlos City and Calatrava.
For high-value commercial crops (HVCC), 302 farmers with 37.75-hectare farms in San Carlos City incurred almost P1.5 million worth of production losses.
The damage brought by pest and diseases is still pegged at P11.5 million.
It was caused by rice black bug infestation in a 239.33-hectare farm in Pontevedra worth almost P10.8 million and leaf blight in a 13.44-hectare farm in Cauayan worth P769,910.
The fishery sector has also incurred production losses due to the prevailing dry spell.
Opa reported P254,900 worth of losses in tilapia and bangus production in Bago City.
In E.B. Magalona, it noted P682,992 in losses in bangus production and P15,000 worth of damage in fishing vessel.
All in all, the damage to rice, corn, HVCC and fisheries brought by El Niño is P76.6 million.
Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said ongoing field validation is being conducted by Opa through its Provincial Crop Protection Team and concerned LGUs.
Masculino said information dissemination among field agriculturists about weather advisory particularly on weak El Niño has also been taken.
“Part of our recommendation are continuous field monitoring by LGUs, fallow period during the dry spell and planting of short-term crops where water is available,” he said, adding that farmers are advised to report their damaged farms in their respective city and municipal agriculture office to avail insurance claims.
For now, only Murcia has declared state of calamity due to adverse effects of the dry weather, Masculino also said.
Earlier, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) reported P366 million worth of damage to the province's sugarcane sector.
The figure covers affected area of 42,424.86 hectares.
The estimated yield loss is 114,773 tons, equivalent to 223,807.91 50-kilogram bags of sugar and 3,787.51 metric tons of molasses.
In terms of value, the SRA reported damage worth P324.5 million in sugar and almost P41.7 million in molasses.
The Department of Agriculture and its attached agency, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management, already scheduled the cloud seeding operation in Negros Occidental next month. (EPN)