P1.2B worth of rice lost due to El Niño

By: Gerome Dalipe

THE dry spell caused by El Niño in Iloilo has destroyed about 35,000 hectares of rice farmlands worth P1.2 billion for the period January to April 2019, records from the Provincial Agriculture’s Office showed.

The 35,000 hectares of farmland could have produced 75,949 metric tons of palay, or 49,367 sacks of rice.

The calamity also affected about 2.6 million people in the Province, said Nancy Superal, provincial rice report officer.

After the Iloilo Provincial Board placed Iloilo under a state of calamity due to El Niño in May, Superal said her office allotted P10 million for the procurement of organic fertilizer to be distributed to the affected farmers.

The Provincial Board’s committee on disaster risk reduction and management proposed about P31.46 million as mitigating measures for affected farmers.

These measures for agriculture include providing liquid organic fertilizer to farmers amounting P10,821,350;  health impacts for water-borne diseases, (P100,520); implementation of the food-for-work program, (P13.54 million); and water pumps worth P4 million.

The Capitol also allotted an additional budget of P500,000 for environmental protection; P2 million for veterinary services; and P500,000 for information and education campaign.
In an interview, Superale allayed public fears that the Province may experience rice shortage due to the calamity.

Superal said the Province is one of the top five provinces in the country that provide supplies to their own province.

The other rice suppliers in the country are Nueva Ecija, Isabela, Pangasinan, and Nueva Viscaya.

She said Iloilo produced some 800, 000 tons of rice in 2018. She added the agriculture’s office allotted P10 million for the purchase of organic fertilizer to the affected farmers.

Among the towns that were affected by the calamity are Oton, Guimbal, Igbaras, Tigbauan, Tubungan, Leon, Alimodian, Badiangan, and Janiuay. (Photo Source: Pampubliko)