Bad weather damages P96M worth of rice crops in WV

AERIAL VIEW OF PASSI CITY. Screengrabbed from Jerald Porras Facebook Video

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas (DA-WV) estimated that around ₱96.38 million worth of rice crops were damaged by the Low-Pressure Area (LPA) that affected three provinces in the last week.

The DA-WV revealed this data on Tuesday, indicating a total of 2,686 farmers affected; 2,613.18 hectares of affected crops (1,954.68 partially damaged and 658.50 destroyed), and 5,903.19 metric tons (MT) of produce lost, between May 2 and 4, 2023.

Capiz suffered the most damage at ₱93 million, with Sigma town (₱58.86 million) having lost 3,363.68 MT of rice in 1,327 hectares of farms, and Dumalag (₱34.8 million) losing 2,400 MT in 1,200 hectares.

Iloilo province (₱2.15 million) was reported to have lost rice crops in the following towns –  Dingle (₱1.90 million) with 96.19 MT in 54.50 hectares, and Zarraga (₱247,896) with 13.77 MT in 4.40 hectares.

Iloilo Provincial Agricultural Office (IPAO) chief Ildefonso Toledo, however, refuted the DA-WV’s data, saying that they were not able to monitor any damages to rice crops, and that it was already out of harvest season.

“I only received minimal reports, does that mean that the [Municipal Agricultural Officers] did not go around but [DA-WV] did? We’ve been validating that with our Planting [Division], but based on our Planting’s record, there was minimal [damage],” Toledo said in an interview.

“When the LPA came on May 3, it was almost harvest of 2022 [plants]. The damage that [the DA-WV] is saying is very negligible, we don’t have actual great damage to rice. The inventory of what was being planted before the LPA was planted in advance because of another prior LPA, so what was damaged [recently] was newly-planted grains,” he added.

Negros Occidental also reported sustained damage to its rice crops (₱570,814.30), in the cities of Cadiz (₱277,064.30) which lost 16.30 MTs of crop over 7.03 hectares, and San Carlos (₱293,750) losing 13.25 MTs over 20.25 hectares.

The DA-WV told the media via Messenger that it is currently distributing Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seeds, but data on exactly how much has been distributed is yet to be released by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) as of this writing.