SRA orders cane sampling after Kanlaon eruption

SRA Administrator Paul Azcona (center) oversees the Ad Hoc committee meeting for disaster-related incidents on Tuesday at the SRA office. (SRA photo)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY – Sugar Regulatory Administrator Luis Azcona has directed the agency’s research and development arm to prioritize the sampling of sugar canes and sugar land following the recent eruption of Mt. Kanlaon.

Azcona stated on Tuesday that information on soil acidity levels and the effects on canes already planted in areas affected by volcanic ashfall is urgently needed.

“We gathered reports from the field of a strong sulfur smell coupled with heavy rains in most areas of Central Negros, and we know this can turn into sulfuric acid, which may affect our sugar canes,” Azcona said.

The testing will include scraping ash from cane leaves and collecting samples from surface grounds in the municipalities of La Castellana, Moises Padilla, Pontevedra, and La Carlota City, where volcanic ash has turned some fields gray.

Azcona mentioned that some farmers took advantage of the heavy rains following the eruption to plant canes and requested that the research department release test results immediately.

“We hope the rains washed out the volcanic ash from the planted canes,” he added.

Azcona also noted that the general condition of the sugar cane fields is already acidic, and the aim is to rule out increased acidity in affected areas that could cause further problems.

Additionally, Azcona ordered the release of P2 million for mitigating measures to aid affected localities and another P500,000 for medical missions to address potential respiratory diseases related to the incident.


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