The dry spell brought by the El Niño phenomenon has already affected 11 barangays in three localities in Negros Occidental, records of the Office of Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) showed.
Dr. Dina Genzola, officer-in-charge of OPA, reported Tuesday, January 30, that as of January 26, a total of 117.22 hectares of rice lands and 143 farmers were affected in the province.
The total damage reached P7,079,836.
The worst hit was Himamaylan City, with eight barangays and 75 rice farmers affected.
A total of 59.22 hectares of rice lands were hit in the city, resulting in damage worth P2,414,586.
In Cauayan town, two rice farmers and 52 hectares of land were affected in two barangays, causing crop damage worth P4,105,000.
In Isabela, one farmer was affected, and six hectares of land from one barangay was hit, causing damage worth P560,250.
Genzola said the affected rice lands are either in the vegetative stage or harvestable stage.
She cited the state of the land, which has already cracked, causing the rice to die.
"When we received the reports, we immediately sent agriculture extension workers to validate and compute the value of the damages," she said.
Genzola said she hopes that the affected farmers have crop insurance as the OPA is coordinating with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, adding that the provincial government has also allocated a budget for its crop insurance program.
Most of the affected rice is considered "rain-fed" and located in upland areas, she added.*