THE damage brought by the prevailing effects of El Niño phenomenon and pest infestation to the agriculture sector of Negros Occidental has swelled to almost P495 million.
The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) reported that production losses incurred by rice, corn, high value commercial crops (HVCC) and fishery sectors were already pegged at almost P124.3 million.
OPA noted the biggest amount of losses to rice sector, P94 million.
The figure covers 3,378 affected rice farmers with a combined area of 2,790.03 hectares in 147 barangays of 21 local government units (LGUs).
The damage to corn sector is P10 million, covering 225 farmers with 224.98-hectare farm in 28 barangays of Sipalay City, San Carlos City and Calatrava.
For HVCC, 376 farmers with affected farms of 54.34 hectares located in nine barangays of San Carlos City, Hinigaran, Cadiz City and La Castellana incurred production losses worth almost P3.7 million.
OPA also reported total losses worth P952,852 to the province’s fishery sector particularly bangus and tilapia production as well as damaged fishing vessels.
It covers 20 fisherfolk in Bago City and E.B. Magalona.
In terms of pest infestation, meanwhile, production losses climbed to about P15.8 million.
This was brought by leaf blight, rat, rice black bug and tungro that infested 315 hectares of rice farms owned by 284 farmers in Pontevedra, Cauayan, Cadiz City and Pulupandan.
Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino, in his report to Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., said they already conducted field validation through the Provincial Crop Protection Team and concerned LGUs.
Masculino said other actions taken included information dissemination to field agriculturist regarding El Niño phenomenon.
“For pest control, the Provincial Crop Protection Team facilitated light trapping operations together with its counterpart among LGUs,” he added.
OPA recommended the continuous conduct of field monitoring by LGUs and fallow period during dry spell, as well as advised farmers to immediately report the damage on their insured crops.
In terms of damage to other crops, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) earlier reported that dry spell damage to sugarcane sector of Negros Occidental is already pegged at about P366 million.
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.
For the livestock and poultry industry, data obtained earlier by SunStar Bacolod from the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) showed a total damage worth P4.6 million.
The poultry sector, particularly broiler, incurred the biggest amount of losses worth P1.489 million or 32 percent.
Other poultry animals like layers suffered P478,564 in damage, free-range chicken worth P474,323, and gamefowl worth P450,500. Each commodity comprises 10 percent of the total losses.
The swine sector, on the other hand, incurred P1.183 million or 26 percent while the remaining eight percent or P369,278 accounts for losses in cattle.