DA-7 has P35M standby fund to mitigate El Niño’s effect in agri sector

By: Futch Anthony Inso March 26,2019 - 06:41 PM

The Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas says that 417.3 hectares of farmlands have been damaged caused by the weak El Niño. | Tonee Despojo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas (DA-7) has already allocated a standby fund amounting to P35 million which will be used to mitigate the effect of the weak El Niño phenomenon that the country is experiencing right now.

“We have a standby fund of P2.5 million for cloud seeding alone,” DA-7 Regional Technical Director Joel Elumba said.

Aside from the existing standby fund or the quick response fund, Elumba said that they would also request for additional fund from their central office.

Based on the report that they had received, the agency had already recorded 417.3 hectares of farmlands that had been damaged due to the dry spell.

In Cebu, around 2.3 hectares of farmlands were damaged in Balamban, 267 hectares in Asturias and 50 hectares in Naga City.

In Negros Oriental, 78 hectares of farmlands were affected in Mabinay while 20 hectares of farmlands were damaged in Lazi, Maria, Enrique and Villanueva in Siquijor province.

Crops affected include rice, corn, and vegetables. Although, Elumba said that as of the moment, the agency was not able yet to compute the total cost of damage that the calamity had brought to agriculture in the region.

Read more: DA-7: 417.3 hectares of farmland in CV affected by dry spell

“Sa pagkakaron, ang gibuhat sa Department of Agriculture mao ang pagmonitor karon ato no. So dunay mga reported damage nato, amo pa man gud nang ibalik sa ilaha for computations,” he added.

(For now, what the Department of Agriculture can do is to monitor these areas. We have the reported damage but we still have to return the computations to them.)

 Elumba said that it would be the local government units (LGUs) that would determine the extent of the damage, before DA-7 would create a comprehensive report on this.

Read more: El Niño Phenomenon: Cebu province under state of calamity

“Kung computation in terms of damage, it should be based on the vegetative condition sa atong tanom. Kung hapit na siya aniha murag taas-taas siya ug damage. Pero kung kadtong newly planted sab mas lessen sab ang iyang damage sa computation,” he said.

(The computation in terms of damage should be based on the vegetative condition of the crops. If the crops would be nearly harvested, then the damage would be more severe but if on newly planted crops then the damage would be lesser.)

He also said that they were still validating reports that they had received.

Read more: PAGASA warning: Heat index may rise to 40 degrees

Meanwhile, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has also reported that the impact of the El Niño might still be felt until the month of June this year.

Netherlen Saletrero, weather specialist from PAGASA Mactan, said in a press briefing that in June when they would be expecting the habagat or the southwest monsoon which would bring rain and thunderstorm, but even then this would still not be able to compensate for the shortfall of water caused by the El Niño.

Read more: Heat drains water from Buhisan dam

She said that since February, the region had already experienced a shortage of rainfall. 

As of the moment, Saletrero said that the region had only received 12 percent of the normal rainfall expected for the month of March./dbs

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