Monday, July 22, 2013
CUYAPO, Nueva Ecija - Some 1,300 hectares of ricelands in this town were destroyed by prolonged drought, affecting some 800 farmers, the Department of Agriculture reported.
Dr. Andrew Villacorta, DA regional executive director for Central Luzon, said the affected farmlands are rain-fed areas which neither receive irrigation from the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Systems that operate the Pantabangan Dam or the Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project or the Casecnan Dam.
Villacorta said they started receiving reports of the dry spell 10 days ago. He said the affected areas produce up to four metric tons of P17 per kilo rice.
He added that the potential loss could reach P68,000 per hectare or P88 million for the 1,300 hectares.
However, Villacorta said losses could be reduced substantially if the affected farmers will replant, adding his office has set aside P30 million worth of seeds as calamity buffer stock.
Villacorta clarified that the drought cannot yet be considered as the effect of the El Nino phenomenon which necessitates a declaration from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration for it to become official.
The DA has allocated P20 million to mitigate El Nino in the region although it is still in the process of identifying the vulnerable areas. (Manny Galvez)
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