Dry spell damages rice, corn crops worth P130M in Maguindanao
COTABATO CITY – The on-going weak El Nino has damaged some P130 million worth of rice and corn crops in Maguindanao, provincial agriculture officials said.
The dry spell that started to hit the province as early as the last week of January has severely affected 29 of 36 Maguindanao towns, according to Vic Giabel, Maguindanao agriculture officer.
Giabel said three towns have placed their communities under a state of calamity.
“Severe damage and absence of rain forced local officials of Pagalungan, Talitay, and Datu Montawal to declare a state of calamity,” Giabel told reporters.
Giabel said his office was still trying to determine the exact number of farmers affected by the dry spell. He said their initial estimate placed some 8,500 farmers affected by the drought.
“I am still awaiting the complete reports from town agriculture officers to complete the picture,” Giabel said.
He identified the affected towns as Buldon, Barira, Matanog, Upi, Talayan, Datu Salibo, Salipada K. Pendatun, Datu Hoffer, Sultan Mastura, Sultan Kudarat, Paglat, Datu Paglas, and Pandag.
Giabel said his office had recommended to the agriculture office in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao the conduct of cloud seeding across the province to cushion the impact of the dry spell.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu said he was awaiting the agriculture office’s reports before he could recommend to the provincial board the declaration of a state of calamity in the province./lzb
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