Dry Spell Affects Over 13,000 Rice Farmers In Iloilo

A total of 13,630 rice farmers in Iloilo province have suffered crop damages caused by the dry spell, the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) said.

Elias Sandig, Assistant Provincial Agriculturist, said the affected farmers are those who planted rice from November last year until February this year.

“From December to February 23, 13,630 farmers coming from the 27 towns in the province are affected by the dry spell,” said Sandig in an interview on Monday.

Based on PAO’s partial damage assessment report for cereals, he said that 1,575 hectares of rice farms were totally damaged while 9,518 hectares were partially damaged.

The reported damage reached a total volume of 24,692 metric tons which equates to PHP401 million in value.

Sandig added that southern Iloilo experiences rainy season for only four to six months which is why it is considered as a “highly vulnerable area”.

“Most of the damages were in southern Iloilo, the first district, because they experience the shortest rainy season in the province,” he said.

The towns affected in Southern Iloilo are Oton with 504 affected farmers; Guimbal with 36; Igbaras with 388; Tigbauan with 318; and Tubungan with 683.

Land areas in these towns are both irrigated and rainfed.

The damaged crops are mostly in their reproductive and ripening stage, Sandig noted, adding that other towns are yet to submit their reports.

“The affected farmers are basically insured under the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation,” he said, encouraging all farmers to register with PCIC.

Furthermore, with the challenge posted by the climate change, Sandig said the agriculture office mainly assists farmers in farm planning.

“We cannot anymore determine the rainy and dry season. Farm planning is the key to lessen the damages of climate change which continuously becomes a challenge for the agriculture sector,” he said. (PNA)

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