DA-6 awaits list of El Niño-af­fected farm­ers

Sun Star Bacolod - - Business - BY ER­WIN P. NICAVERA

THE De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) in Western Visayas has yet to re­ceive the list of rice farm­ers in the re­gion af­fected by the re­cent El Niño phe­nom­e­non for it to fully dis­trib­ute its al­lo­cated seeds, its top of­fi­cial said.

Reme­lyn Re­coter, re­gional di­rec­tor of Dawest­ern Visayas, said the dis­tri­bu­tion of cer­ti­fied and hy­brid rice seeds is one of their in­ter­ven­tions to lessen the ad­verse ef­fects of the calamity to the lo­cal farm­ers.

Re­coter said the agency has pre­pared 200,000 bags of rice seeds, which are on top of the 30,000 bags as buf­fer stocks in times of calamities like drought.

The buf­fer stocks are 10 per­cent of the re­gion’s to­tal rice planted areas of about 300,000 hectares.

“Part of the al­lo­cated seeds were al­ready dis­trib­uted, some are al­ready prepo­si­tioned as we are still wait­ing for all lo­cal govern­ment units (LGUS) to sub­mit the mas­terlist,” she said.

LGUS in the re­gion, Re­coter added, have sub­mit­ted the areas dam­aged by the calamity but the agency still needs the names of the af­fected farm­ers.

Da-re­gion 6 re­ported that El Niño phe­nomen, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the first half of the year, has brought about P1 bil­lion worth losses to the re­gion’s agri­cul­ture sec­tor.

Bulk of the amount was in­curred by the rice sec­tor. In terms of area, Iloilo was noted to have the big­gest amount of losses.

Aside from El Niño, the re­cent ty­phoons en­hanc­ing the South­west Mon­soon or “haba­gat” have also re­sulted in dam­age and pro­duc­tion losses to the re­gion’s rice sec­tor.

Though, the agency said it is still min­i­mal.

Re­coter ear­lier said the re­gional line agency re­mains op­ti­mistic to achieve its rice yield tar­get of five met­ric tons per hectare amid calamities that hit the re­gion this year.

“We’re now at four met­ric tons per hectare. Hope­fully, we could in­crease by five met­ric tons through pro­vi­sion of high yield­ing va­ri­eties,” the re­gional di­rec­tor added.*

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