NEGROS Occidental has lost more or less P6.11 million worth of rice crops due to the dry spell brought about by the El NiĂ±o phenomenon, according to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC)-6.
As of March 5, 2019, seven barangays in Cauayan, Negros Occidental with 253 farmers are currently affected by the dry spell.
The weather condition affected 143 hectares of farm lands with rice plantation, according to the RDRRMC-6 report.
The Climate Outlook by Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration Â– Department of Science and Technology (PAGASA-DOST) recently reported that the El NiĂ±o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is expected to hit the country between March to August 2019 in the Philippines.
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) Chairman Governor Alfred MaraĂ±on Jr. already sent a request for cloud seeding operation to Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter, the report added.
Aside from allocating funds for logistical support for cloud seeding operation, the PRDRRMC also provided funds for the procurement of water pumps to mitigate the effects of the dry spell.
Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas is currently conducting damage assessment of areas affected by the dry spell.
Rene Famoso chief of DA- 6 Operations Division said that reports from local government units will be subjected to validation.
Â“As of now, we are still conducting damage assessment and we are still validatingÂ ang mgadataÂ nga gina-feedÂ sa amon,Â” he said.
According to Famoso, apart from Negros, the dry spell also hit areas in Southern Iloilo and Antique which are considered with Type I climate or a distinct wet and dry season.
Â“Kalabanan ngaÂ affected areasÂ mayÂ Type 1 climate meaningÂ mayÂ distinct wet and dry. Mostly affected are Southern Iloilo and Antique,Â” he said.
Since the second semester, DA-6 has been conducting information campaign on El NiĂ±o through coordination meetings with provincial and municipal/city agriculturists and other stakeholders.
Â“We advised them to plant other crops rather than rice that needs more water,Â” Famoso said.
DA assured that they have enough buffer stocks of rice, corn and high-valued commercial crop available positioned at respective provinces ready for distribution for farmers who will be affected by the dry spell.
Â“Farmers can always visit the nearest municipal agricultureÂ’s office because we have allocations for high value crop, corn and even rice,Â” he said.
The agriculture department is also set to issue an advisory regarding El NiĂ±o encouraging local government units (LGUs) to take necessary actions on how to mitigate its impacts to vulnerable agricultural commodities.
Cloud seeding for Negros Occidental as requested by the provincial government will also be subjected to pre-assessment protocols by the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) and DA-6.