Sugarcane sector loses P366-M to dry spell

BACOLOD City – The sugarcane sector in Negros Occidental, the country’s sugar capital, has incurred about PHP366 million in losses due to the dry spell associated with El Niño.

A crop damage estimate report as of Wednesday, submitted by the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), showed losses worth PHP324.5 million in sugar and almost PHP41.7 million in molasses.

Estimated yield loss is 114,773 tons, equivalent to 223,807.91 50-kg. bags of sugar, and 3,787.51 metric tons of molasses.

The figures cover an affected area of 42,424.86 hectares.

Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said the report did not indicate the affected local government units (LGUs) in the province.

Negros Occidental produces about 60 percent of the Philippines’ sugar output.

Masculino said mitigating measures for sugarcane farms are initiated by the SRA while OPA is focusing on rice, vegetables and other crops.

“The cloud seeding operations of the Department of Agriculture in May will also benefit sugarcane farms in the province,” he added.

OPA records showed that crop losses, particularly for rice and corn, have reached PHP60.61 million.

The towns of Murcia and Binalbagan posted PHP8.29 million and PHP7.13 million in rice production losses, respectively.

The extreme heat has affected 1,268 hectares of rice farmlands in 13 local government units, with total losses of PHP46.77 million incurred by 1,380 farmers.

The remaining PHP11.5 million accounts for production losses caused by pests like rats, rice black bugs, and leaf blight. (PNA)