El Niño destroys P478.83M in crops in Negros Occidental

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Some P478.83 million in crops had been lost in Negros Occidental due to the extreme heat caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist said.

Calatrava suffered the most after losing P10.73 million worth of rice in 500 hectares of farmlands. At least 599 farmers in 14 barangays were affected, the OPA said.

Affected as well by the extreme heat were:

* Salvador Benedicto (P9.73M)
* Himamaylan City (P8.73 million)
* Murcia (P8.29 million)
* Binalbagan (P7.13 million)
* Cauayan (P6.11 million)
* Hinoba-an (P5.19 million)
* Bago City (P3.96 million)
* San Carlos City (P3.71 million)
* Pontevedra (P3.38 million)

Production losses were also reported in:

* Silay (P2.62 million)
* Cadiz (P2.48 million)
* Talisay (P1.19 million)
* Sipalay (P1.15 million)
* Hinigaran (P2.25 million)
* Ilog (P2.22 million)
* E.B. Magalona (P1.84 million)
* Toboso (P1.33 million)
* Moises Padilla (P1.5 million)
* San Enrique (P858,675)
* La Castellana (P826,019)

Murcia and Isabela have been placed under a state of calamity their respective councils.

The drought already affected 3,000 farmers and 2,561 hectares of rice farmlands in 21 localities, leaving P85.30 million in damages.

Meanwhile, pests cost losses in rice production in Pontevedra, Cauayan, and Pulupandan, with damages estimated at P11.81 million.

San Carlos City lost P1.50 million in high-value commercial crops.

Some 225 corn farmers tilling 224 hectares of farm in Sipalay City, San Carlos City, and Calatrava town lost P10.10 million worth of crops.

The dry spell also hit the sugarcane sector that is reeling from P366.18 million in production losses.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) earlier reported that the sector lost an estimated 114,773 tons of sugarcane, equivalent to 223,807.91 50-kilogram bags of sugar and 3,787.51 metric tons of molasses.

In terms of value, the SRA said the damage totalled P324.5 million for sugar and almost P41.7 million for molasses.

The OPA also reported damages in the fisheries sector in Bago City and E.B. Magalona totaling P952,892. For livestock and poultry, damage was pegged at P3 million.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will conduct cloud seeding operations in the province this month to curb the effects of the dry spell.