• El Niño damage rises to P4B

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    Agriculture damage caused by a severe drought has topped P4 billion as the El Niño weather pattern continues to affect 12 regions in the country, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

    As of February 2016, the damage to crops and other agriculture produce was pegged at P4.002 billion. A total of 304,104 metric tons of crops from 94,056 hectares was lost, the department reported.

    The corn sector recorded the biggest loss of 195,694 MT valued at P2.36 billion. Palay accounted for 94,934 MT or P1.62-billion. High-value crops and livestock, meanwhile, registered P21.63 million and P11,477 worth of damage, respectively.

    Regions 2 and 12 suffered the most damage, the Agriculture department noted.

    In 2015, the palay sector suffered from unrealized plantings as a result of inadequate irrigation water and late rain, with some areas left to fallow.

    Director Christopher Morales, officer in charge of the Agriculture department’s field operations unit, said they expect the damage to be lower this cropping season as more farmers take advantage of good weather and an ample supply of water contributed by typhoons late last year.

    “For the past weeks, we’ve been going around Central Luzon and we are seeing good standing crops,” Morales said, adding that the typhoons have helped fill up dams and irrigation facilities.

    The official also noted that they had received a memorandum from the National Water Resources Board saying that all rice areas in Bulacan and Pampanga would be serviced.

    The department added that it expected no supply shortage ahead of the lean months as more farmers continue to plant rice. Due to the movement of the cropping calendar, a shorter lean season may be experienced this year, it said.

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