Wednesday 23 January
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Jan 29, 2016 @ 9:16

Farmers in Cotabato, Davao del Sur reel from dry spell

Millions worth of damage to crops has been reported due to the El Niño phenomenon in Cotabato, leaving the provincial council no choice but to place the province under a state of calamity.

According to Cynthia Ortega, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer (PDRRMO), farmlands in the area have been severely affected by the dry spell with 17 towns and the single city reporting heavy damage to crops.

The extreme heat has resulted in the wilting of the crops while the drying of fishponds has resulted in heavy mortality of fish.

Provincial Agriculturist Engineer Eliseo Mangliwan, has estimated damages at P238, 017, 946. 35.

He also lamented that the wilting crops have also attracted pests such as rodents which has been happening since the final quarter of 2015.

Based on his records, the damage breaks down as follows:
1. Rice — P15, 039, 972.70
2. Corn — P50, 043, 942.65
3. Oil palm — P5, 982,912.00
4. Coconut — P115, 693, 368.00
5. Rubber — P48, 250, 935.00
6. Cacao — P2, 293, 290.00
7. Kape — P713, 496.00

He warned that these figures are considered conservative as they have yet to validate the impact of the dry spell on banana plantations in the province.

So far, an initial funding of P4 million will be released for cloud seeding operations this month.

Meanwhile, 20,000 hectares of rice fields in Davao del Sur has also been affected by the dry spell. Some farmers have lamented that the water that they get from the dams are not enough to irrigate their farms. Because of this, they are expecting heavily losses in their harvests which will take its toll on their income.

The dry spell has also been blamed for animals falling ill because of extreme heat. (By: Angel Ong)

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