CROP damage and production losses caused by the continuous dry spell in Negros Occidental have surged to more than P35 million, according to the latest report released by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) on Tuesday.
To mitigate the adverse effects of the prolonged dry weather, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is urging Negrenses to practice water conservation.
Joyce Wendam, DA-Negros Island Region technical director for Research and Regulation, said the public is urged to help in taking measures by mechanizing rain water catchment technology.
Empty drums, tanks, and even small containers may be utilized to store rain water, which can be used for small flower gardens and vegetable farms rather than sourcing from other depleting water sources, Wendam said.
The P35 million in losses cover 1,250.97 hectares of palay, high-value commercial crops (HVCC), and corn.
Affected farmers totaled 1,150 from 40 barangays in four local government units (LGUs), including Pontevedra, Hinigaran, Moises Padilla and Hinoba-an towns.
In Hinigaran, 12 barangays are affected, composed of 302 rice farmers in 282.67 hectares, with a total damage of P11.1 million; 24 HVCC farmers in 5.32 hectares, P838,086; and three corn farmers in 2.3 hectares, P234,600.
Twelve barangays in Hinoba-an posted crop damage worth P5.56 million. The figure covers 557 rice farmers in 619.2 hectares.
OPA recorded damage and losses worth P15.99 million in 12 barangays of Pontevedra, covering 218 rice farmers in 304.43 hectares.
In four barangays of Moises Padilla, 27 rice farmers in 22.05 hectares were reported to have a total crop damage and production losses of P623,708. An additional P787,500 worth of losses covering 19 corn farmers in 17.30 hectares were also recorded by OPA.
Aside from crops, the prolonged dry weather has also caused damage worth P345,400 in livestock and other animals in the province, the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) reported Monday.
In Bacolod, Agriculture Officer Goldwyn Nifras said Tuesday that his office is closely monitoring the condition of farmlands in the city.
Nifras said the City has issued advisories as early as September 2015 for farmers to adopt mitigating measures that can help them survive the dry spell.
He added that the City is willing to extend any assistance to affected farmers.
“We are in close contact with the barangay officials in case they need help from the government,” Nifras said.
He noted an estimated 50 of land in Bacolod -- around 16,000 hectares -- is used for agriculture. (EPN/With CNC)