By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City The province of Negros Occidental has lost more or less P478.83 million worth of rice because of the extreme heat caused by El Niño phenomenon.
Calatrava town suffered the most after losing P10.73 million worth of rice in 500 hectares of farmlands. The drought affected 599 farmers in 14 barangays, based on the records of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) as of Friday.
Extreme heat also affected areas of Salvador Benedicto (P9.73M), Himamaylan City (P8.73M), Murcia (P8.29M), Binalbagan (P7.13M), Cauayan (P6.11M), Hinoba-an (P5.19M), Bago City (P3.96 M), San Carlos City (P3.71M), and Pontevedra (P3.38M).
Production losses were also reported in the cities of Silay, Cadiz, Talisay, and Sipalay, with P2.62 million, P2.48 million, P1.19 million, P1.15 million in losses, respectively.
The municipalities of Hinigaran, Ilog, E.B. Magalona, Toboso, Moises Padilla, San Enrique, and La Castellana also suffered losses amounting to P2.25 million, P2.22 million, P1.84 million, P1.33 million, P1.5 million, P858,675, and P826,019, respectively.
Murcia and Isabela have been placed under a state of calamity their respective sanggunians (legislatures).
The drought already affected 3,000 farmers and 2,561 hectares of rice farmlands in 21 localities, leaving P85.30 million in damages.
Pests also contributed to losses in rice production in Pontevedra, Cauayan, and Pulupandan, with damages estimated at P11.81 million.
For the high-value commercial crops, San Carlos City lost P1.50 million.
Also, 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.