PROVINCIAL Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said yesterday that grain infestation brought damage of about P8.3 million to rice plantations in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental.

“Worst because although the farms are covered by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, they cannot claim for the damage because grain bug is a new and emerging pest and is not covered by insurance,” Masculino said.

Damaged crops have been reported in 13 barangays in Sipalay, covering 221 hectares of rice plantation of 208 farmers.

“Although not yet alarming, farmers in Sipalay should be wary about the infestation and that farms not infected should take precautionary measures to protect their farms from this kind of bug that sucks the grains during its milking stage,” Masculino said.

He added that the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist will conduct an actual assessment of the affected farms today to determine the interventions to be applied, whether the situation warrants the spraying of metaressium to kill the bugs.

Masculino also advised farmers of the neighboring areas in Sipalay City to make sure that third farms are clean so that it would not become breeding grounds of grain bugs.