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Negros Occidental drought damage hits P302M

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

As the La Niña phenomenon inches towards the country, expected to be felt by the middle of this year, damage caused by drought to agricultural crops in Negros Occidental continues to rise, currently valued at P302,224,913, as of May 8, according to reports of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.

The OPA reports indicate that rice crops were hit the hardest with damage estimated at P291,747,976.57, corn – P7,809,894.76, and fisheries – P2,667,042.

Dina Genzola, OIC provincial agriculturist, reported that the drought also hit 5,864 hectares of rice lands in 216 barangays in 28 of the 31 LGUs in Negros Occidental, and has affected 8,285 farmers.

Three local government units in Negros Occidental, namely the cities of San Carlos, Kabankalan and municipality of San Enrique, have placed their respective areas under a state of calamity, in order to use their calamity funds to help affected farmers.

The drought also damaged 178.91 hectares of corn land in 40 barangays in 12 local governments, affecting 265 farmers in the province.

Kabankalan City is the hardest hit locality, absorbing P99,624,716.80 worth of damage to its rice lands. The drought also affected 20 barangays and 3,430 farmers tilling 2,355.11 hectares of rice lands in the city.

In terms of fisheries, hardest was the coastal town of San Enrique, where damage to fishponds reached P2,472,042 worth of semi-harvestable milkfish and P21,000 worth of tilapia fingerlings.*

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