Negros Occidental drought damages P143M worth of crops, livestocks

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – The continuing dry spell in Negros Occidental has resulted to P143.7 million ($3 million) worth of damage to crops and livestocks.

As of Thursday, January 21, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) reported that P99.51 million ($2.08 million) worth of sugarcane crops were damaged, with 7,861 farmers and 7,372 hectares of sugarcane plantation in the province affected.

The SRA report showed that sugarcane plantations covered by the Southern Negros Development Corporation and Daconcogon Sugar Central posted the highest amount of damage at P30.25 million ($632,848.97). These include those in the cities of Kabankalan and Sipalay, and the towns of Cauayan, Ilog, and Candoni.

The plantations within the La Carlota Sugar Central in La Carlota City and towns of Pontevedra and La Castellana were also damaged.

The report said farms in the area of the Binalbagan Sugar Company in Himamaylan City and the towns of Hinigaran, Binalbagan, Isabela, and Moises Padilla lost P11.35 million ($237,449.12).

Meanwhile, damage to farms covered by the Ma-ao Sugar Central in Bago City amounted to P8.25 million ($172,471.67).

The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist also reported that 6 localities suffered P43.82 million worth of crop damage and production losses due to extreme weather. (READ: 30 provinces reeling from dry spell - PAGASA)

Pontevedra was the one hit the hardest, with P16-million ($334,490.51) worth of damage. This was followed by Moises Padilla with P13.59 million ($284,107.88); Hinigaran with P12.18 million ($254,637.05); and Hinoba-an with P5.56 million ($116,238.26).

The Provincial Veterinarian Office reported a P345,400 ($7,220.99) worth of damage to livestock due to dry spell. 

During the technical working group meeting of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) on Thursday, the SRA and the Department of Agriculture (DA) recommended the conduct of cloud seeding operations to mitigate the effects of El Niño.

Provincial Planning and Development Officer Maria Lina Sanogal said the recommendation would be up for the approval of the PDRRMC in their next meeting on January 27.

It will then be forwarded to the provincial board for concurrence, then to the Bureau of Soils and Water Management, which will take charge of the operations.

At least P5 million ($104,531.31) has been allocated for the cloudseeding operations – P3 million ($62,718.79) from the provincial government, and P2 million ($41,817.81) from the DA.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr has called on the public to conserve water. –