Agri losses in parched areas hit P2.6 billion - disaster agency

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 28 2019 08:39 AM | Updated as of Mar 28 2019 01:30 PM

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Lack of rain has caused some P2.6 billion worth of agricultural damage in large swaths of the country, the disaster agency said Thursday. 

The cost of losses was reported by local governments and was still subject to verification by the agriculture department, said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Ricardo Jalad.

Two provinces, 15 towns, and a city have declared a state of calamity to tap emergency funds due to the shortage of rain, he told radio DZMM. 

The social welfare department is implementing a food and cash for work program for farmers in these areas, and is also on standby for the distribution of relief goods, he said. 

The agriculture department, meanwhile, will conduct cloudseeding operations to spawn rains, Jalad said. 

In Occidental Mindoro, where 2 towns have declared a state of calamity, the local government has distributed fuel for the farmers' water pumps, said provincial agriculturist Nonoy Baranda. 

Some P243 million worth of palay and onions were damaged by the rain shortage across the province, he said. 

This year's rainy season will be delayed with weather pattern El Niño expected to last until June, the state meteorology bureau earlier said. 

DZMM, 28 March 2019