TABUK City, Kalinga -- With the onslaught of dry spell, Kalinga’s agricultural industry has incurred a total of P99,580,451.00 damages on crops.

The Office of Agricultural Service (OAS) in its February 23, 2010 crop damages report states that corn incurred the most damage with P81,700,811.00, followed by the high value commercial crops (HVCC) with P10,214,640.00 and rice with P7,665,000.00.

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Among the corn producing municipalities, damages in Tabuk incurred the highest, reported to be around P27,928,189.00 million covering some 2,168 hectares of corn plantation.

In Pinukpuk, the OAS monitored that around 2,631 hectares of corn plantation are affected by the drought. Damage was estimated to be around P26,250,024.00.

For Rizal, a total of 1,562 hectares of corn was affected resulting to P19,904,412.00 production loss.

Damages in Tanudan reached to P7,618,186.00 covering 663 hectares corn plantation.

Kalinga Provincial Agriculturist Gerardo Jose said at least 50 to 60 percent of corn planted in October to the early part of November last year could be harvested. Those planted later than November have no more chance of recovery.

For the HVCC, Jose said monitored crops include fruit bearing trees such as coffee where most of the plants are now on their vegetative and maturity stage.

From the total 924 hectares plantation, only 243 hectares have a chance to recover with estimated yield loss of 60-70 percent.

Damages on rice covered a total of 16,667 hectares around the province, most of which are now on its vegetative stage.

The report indicated that some 1,355 hectares have chances of recovery.

According to the OAS crop damage report, Rizal has the highest production loss on rice amounting to P2.83 million, followed by Tabuk with P1.36 million and Balbalan with P1.02 million crop damages.

The municipalities of Pinukpuk, Lubuagan, Tinglayan, Pasil, and Tanudan reported rice production loss of P.68 million (M), P.68M, P.42M, P.39M, and P.28M respectively.

Most of these rice farms, Jose said are rain-fed or located at the tail end of the irrigation system.

The OAS, he said, will still continue monitoring the developments on HVCC and rice considering that water supply for rice is still considered sufficient to irrigate areas in Tabuk.

To increase water volume in their irrigation system, he said NIA has blocked the Chico River Dam spillway diverting the water to concentrate its flow through the irrigation canals.

He disclosed that if the drought will prolong, there is a tendency that water would decrease by March and might reach a critical level.

With this he said that farmers should plant and manage their farms on schedule to ensure sufficient water supply during the summer season.

Meanwhile, considering the extent of damages of the El Nino in Kalinga, the Provincial Government is most likely to declare the province under state of calamity, Jose said.

According to Jose, the provincial governor was already informed of the province’s current agricultural production status.

He said with the declaration of state of calamity, the local government could use its calamity fund to augment the needed equipments to help farmers cope with the economic crisis brought about by the dry spell. (Gigi Dumallig)