About PHP444.94 million worth of agricultural damage has been recorded in the Cordillera region as of March 22
due to the dry spell, a report from the regional office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) showed on Thursday. DA-Cordillera Director Jennilyn Dawayan, in a report, said most of the damage involved yellow corn for animal feeds and rice. She said 5,896 corn farmers posted production loss amounting to almost PHP411.34 million while 1,912
rice farmers registered a total production loss of nearly PHP33.38 million.

On top of these, 62 fisherfolk were also affected, with a total production loss of 1,470 kg. of fish worth PHP226,090.
The report said Ifugao incurred the most damage amounting to about PHP232.12 million, followed by Mountain
Province, PHP160.51 million; Kalinga, PHP51.14 million; Abra, PHP591,880; and Benguet, PHP323,910. Apayao has yet to submit its report. With these developments, Dawayan said they have sought the help of various agencies and local governments in the region for assistance to farmers affected by the El Niño.

“We have updated the master list incorporating the number of farmers affected as a basis for endorsement to the
DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) for
possible intervention,” she said. Dawayan said counterparts in the provincial and municipal government units have also been tapped not just for monitoring, assessment, and surveillance but also to look into additional assistance to the affected farmers and fisherfolk.

She said they have also requested the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. for an updated list of farmers enrolled for
insurance and those who have availed of insurance benefits related to El Niño. The distribution of irrigation network systems to areas at risk of drought has been prioritized, Dawayan said, noting that authorities are also doing an inventory of the small-scale irrigation projects and seed reserve. She said they have also prepositioned seeds ready for immediate planting in vulnerable areas.

DA data shows that of the 7,361 hectares of land with drought-affected crops, plants in about 6,600 hectares have
chances of recovery and have been declared only “partially damaged.” Aside from monitoring damage to farms and searching for interventions, the DA is also monitoring the prices of commodities in the market. The report said both the DA and the regional office of the National Irrigation Authority are implementing rotational water delivery and
distribution to allow all farms to have water for their plants. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is also
monitoring and conducting surveillance for water quality.

Liza Agoot/PNA

Amianan Balita Ngayon