14,000 hectares destroyed by drought in W. Visayas
Around 14,000 hectares of farmlands have been destroyed by drought in the Western Visayas region, with Iloilo province suffering the brunt of 8,000 hectares of destroyed farms.
The Philippine News Agency said a total of 33,000 hectares have been affected by drought in Western Visayas.
In Iloilo alone, PNA, quoting an assessment of provincial agriculture officer Ildefonso Toledo, reported that more than 24,000 hectares in 13 towns are severely hit by El Nino.
Because of this, Toledo said rice production would be a lot lower. Only about 50 percent of Iloilo’s 130,000 hectares of rice lands are reportedly performing well.
The Department of Agriculture encouraged Visayas farmers to plant high-yielding hybrid rice varieties that can withstand higher temperatures.
Only less than 30 percent of Ilonggo farmers have accepted hybrid rice production and majority still use registered seeds.
This further reduced rice production Western Visayas at 3.31 metric tones of per hectare as compared to the 4.03 metric tons in price producing provinces like Nueva Ecija, Isabela and Pangasinan.
The Department of Agriculture is pushing for the use of hybrid rice seeds to attain its goal of rice sufficiency and to prepare Filipino farmers for the 2017 Asean integration.