The long dry spell, exacerbated by pest attacks, has caused P25.5 million in rice losses in Negros Occidental from January to yesterday, Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said.
The biggest losses were reported in Pontevedra at P13.4 million caused by the dry spell and attacks by rice grain bugs, stemborers and rice black bugs, he said.
Masculino said the dry spell also induces the emergence of rice pests.
The rice grain bug looks like a black ant that feeds on rice fruit and damages it by sucking the contents of developing grains in the milking stage, causing moisture loss and discoloration.
A stemborer is any insect larva, or arthropod, that bores into plant stems.
The rice black bug, one of the most difficult pests to manage, is a sap-feeding insect that sucks the plant sap through the stems and nodes near the water surface.
The dry spell has also caused rice losses in Cauayan of P6.1 million, Ilog – P2.2 million, Cadiz P.31 million, and Himamaylan P3.5 million, Masculino said.
Masculino said the Department of Agriculture is sending a team to Negros Occidental next week to assess the need for cloudseeding, which will also depend on the availability of an airplane, since there are also numerous requests for cloudseeding in other areas.
Secretary Emmanuel Piñol last week assured that the DA is allocating funds for cloudseeding in Negros Occidental that is expected to experience a long dry spell.
The dry spell in Negros Occidental, Mindoro and Palawan will linger until late November, Piñol said.
Masculino stressed the need for farmers to enroll for crop insurance to cover for damage to their crops.*
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