El Niño wreaks havoc to crops worth to P23.9M PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 11:41

By SHEILA COVARRUBIAS

The prolonged dry spell continues to take its toll on the agriculture sector, as damage to crops soared to P23.9 million as of March 4.

In his report to Mayor Beng Climaco dated March 7, City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat said a total of 1,092.28 hectares of agricultural lands planted with rice, corn, assorted vegetables and crops were ruined due to drought spawned by the El Niño phenomenon. Number of farmers affected is 1,268.

Of the total area affected, 1,003.27 hectares have no chance of recovery, according to Palacat.

Hardest hit are rice fields with 517.6 hectares, cornfields with 262.08 hectares and assorted vegetables with 69.84 hectares. Other areas affected are planted with banana, papaya, cassava, camote, peanut, ginger, mungbean, eggplant, squash, cacao, lanzones, rambutan and durian.

Palacat stressed that the City Government is exerting all efforts to ensure support and assistance to the affected farmers by coordinating with other agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment, Food Agricultural Organization, Department of Agriculture, Zamboanga City Water District and even the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and other agencies.

The DOLE and FAO have responded to Palacat’s request for the implementation of cash for work and food for work programs with affected farmers as beneficiaries.

On the other hand, the DA in partnership with the ZCWD and the City Government is set to conduct cloud seeding operations in a bid to induce artificial rains in the different agricultural districts of the city.

The PAG-ASA in coordination with the Bureau of Soil and Water Management and the Philippine Air Force concluded cloud seeding operations in the city implemented through the DOST-Task Force El Niño project. — Sheila Covarrubias