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Drought damage to Negros Occ agri valued at P97.7M

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The drought affectation has further expanded to 135 barangays of 19 towns and cities of Negros Occidental, with damage to agricultural crops pegged at P97,788,037.45, as of March 27, according to reports of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.

A total of 2,585 farmers have been affected while the affected areas have reached a total of 2,189.06 hectares, the OPA report further said.

The Bureau of Soils and Water Management, in a joint assessment pre-cloud seeding operation report, a copy of which was furnished to Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, said that if cloud seeding operations will be conducted, it will adversely affect the mango plantations in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, and Guimaras that has 20,659 trees that are induced and in fruit development.

It added that cashew nut production in Guimaras has a total of 418 hectares at flowering to fruit development stage.

BSWM said that cloud seeding operations will not result in light moderate rains from March to April due lack of moisture and less seedable clouds in Negros Occidental.

Upon the review and deliberation of all data, ground assessment and interviews, it said that the conduct of the cloud seeding operation is not recommended.

Lacson said he joined Negros Occidental 5th District Rep. Emilio “Dino” Yulo, in asking the BSWM of the Department of Agriculture to reconsider its recommendation.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Western Visayas reported that it has started the distribution of 900 food packs to drought affected farmers in 14 barangays of Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.

The DSWD-6, in a statement, said the initiative aims to provide immediate relief to farmers who have been struggling due to the adverse effects of El Niño on their crops and livelihoods.*

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