Bicol loses P58M worth of crops due to El Niño
LEGAZPI CITY—Even at this early stage of the dry spell brought about by the El Niño weather phenomenon, crop losses reaching P58 million have been reported in at least 1,040 hectares of agricultural lands in Bicol, mostly in Masbate and Camarines Sur provinces, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in the region said.
OCD Bicol director Bernardo Alejandro said on Friday that data from the Department of Agriculture (DA) regional field office show that low rainfall since early this year has affected the farmlands.
The production loss in rice, corn and high-value crops for the region has reached 3,367.14 metric tons, with a corresponding value of P58,788,460.88, according to Alejandro, citing a partial report released by the DA.
The crop failures affected at least 718 farmers, mainly from the towns of Uson and Cawayan in Masbate and Ragay in Camarines Sur.
In Ragay, the rice crop loss was placed at P17.282 million while that in Uson and Cawayan towns amounted to 25.6 million, the DA report said.
Corn farmers in Masbate City and in the towns of Placer, Uson and Cawayan, also in Masbate, lost P2.555 million while losses in high-value crops in Masbate province reached P13.4 million, the same report added.
To avert higher crop loss due to El Niño, Alejandro said the OCD and the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, together with concerned local governments and agencies, have been preparing measures to address water shortage, among others.
Ariel Zamudio, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa)-Bicol weather forecaster, said Bicol started experiencing the impact of the dry spell in August but it would turn into a moderate drought from Sept. 15 this year to February 2016.
Pagasa described a “dry spell” as three consecutive months of below normal rainfall (21 percent to 60 percent reduction from average) or two months of consecutive way below normal rainfall (more than 60 percent reduction from average).
Drought is defined as three consecutive months of way below normal rainfall (60 percent reduction from average) or five consecutive months of below normal rainfall condition (21 percent to 60 percent reduction from average).
Dry condition is defined as having two consecutive months of below normal rainfall (21-60 percent drop in average rainfall).
Pagasa, in its El Niño bulletin released on Sept. 2, said the areas that would be affected by drought this month are Aurora, Quezon, Camarines Norte and Bohol.
The provinces that will experience dry spell are Isabela and Sorsogon in Luzon; Samar and Leyte provinces in the Visayas; and Zamboanga del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Compostela Valley, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Basilan, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao.
Dry condition would be felt in Pangasinan, Tarlac and Cavite in Luzon; Capiz and Cebu in the Visayas; and North Cotabato in Mindanao, the bulletin added. Michael B. Jaucian, Inquirer Southern Luzon
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