By Joseph B.A. Marzan
The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas on Monday reported that the region is expected to suffer losses in rice and corn production due to the El Niño season, with the latter crop seen to lose almost its entire production target in the dry season.
DA Regional Office 6 estimates yield loss in rice of between 69,354.72 and 429,575.68 Metric Tons (MTs) during the extended dry season, which is expected to run from Sept. 16, 2023 to March 15, 2024.
This represents 9 to 55 percent of the target production during this season at 783,390.61 MT.
During the wet season (March 16 to Sept. 15, 2023), rice production yield losses are estimated at only between 4,519.03 MT and 105,602.41 MT, or around 1 to 13 percent of the target in this season (822,335.24 MT).
For corn, the region is estimated to lose 5,604.65 MT to 27,066.18 MTs during the dry season, which is around 19 to 99 percent of the target production for the dry season (27,335.09 MTs).
Meanwhile, corn’s yield loss in the wet season is only between 814.89 MT to 6,426.34 MT, or around 1 to 6 percent of the target production during this season (103,637.11)
The estimated losses are based on the planting intentions as assessed by the DA-6 for both the wet and the dry seasons as of May 4.
Rice and corn are two of the five vulnerable agricultural commodities during the El Niño cycle. The others High-Value Crops (HVC), Livestock and Poultry, and Fisheries.
Between the El Niño events from 2010 to 2022, DA-6 estimated ₱5.81 billion in losses, which comprised ₱5.35 billion in rice, ₱396.85 million in corn, ₱65.88 million in HVC, and ₱2.076 million in Livestock and Poultry.
In this 12-year period, Iloilo province was estimated to have suffered the greatest losses (₱3.86 billion), followed by Capiz (₱1.449 billion), Antique (₱209.7 million), Negros Occidental (₱139.97 million), Guimaras (₱100.36 million), and Aklan (₱52.72 million).
These data were presented by DA-6 Regional Director Jose Albert Barrogo during the Infrastructure Development Committee’s special meeting, wherein El Niño was one of the topics discussed.
Barrogo outlined the following strategies already being undertaken by the DA-6, or are in the pipeline, as preparation for the upcoming climate event:
– Creation of an El Niño Task Force;
– Intensified information and education campaign;
– Conduct of Information Caravans;
– Coordination Meetings with Banner Programs, local government unit Counterparts and other Stakeholders;
– Prepositioning of Buffer Stocks for Rice and Corn;
– Procurement of Seeds of Alternative Crops (Mungbean);
– Regular Monitoring of Planting/Standing Crops;
– Regular Monitoring of Water levels of Irrigation Systems;
– Regular updating and dissemination of the Weather and Climate Information;
– Focused Provision of Production Support to Non-vulnerable areas, including Seeds (Early Maturing Varieties), Planting Materials, Fertilizers for Crops, and Drugs and Biologics for Animals;
– Water Management Interventions (technology plus infrastructure support);
– Crop Diversification;
– Risk Transfer;
– Monitoring of Effects of El Niño;
– Damage and Loss Assessment and Reporting;
– Preparation of Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan;
– Provision of Rehab and Recovery programs, projects, and activities, to affected areas.