COTABATO CITY: Agriculture officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Tuesday placed at P35.9 million the initial value of crops damaged by flash floods that hit low-lying areas in Maguindanao early this week.
Lawyer Makmod Mending Jr., ARMM regional agriculture secretary, said the floods affected more than 7,000 hectares of rice and corn farms in Maguindanao towns that are located near the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta.
The delta, located at the tri-boundaries of the neighboring Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces, is a geographical catch basin for more than a dozen large rivers that spring from forested hinterlands in the three provinces, in Bukidnon and in parts of South Cotabato.
Mending said the provincial agricultural officer of Maguindanao, Salik Panalunsong, reported that 6,872 farmers were affected by the floods.
Mending said Panalunsong’s report to the ARMM’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries also indicated that only rice and corn crops in 2,713 hectares, from out of the more than 7,000 hectares of farms that are now flooded, can be saved if flood waters will recede within the week.
“At least 61 percent of the crops in all of the flooded areas are beyond recovery,” Mending said, citing Panalunsong’s report.
The provincial board declared Maguindanao under state of calamity on September 5 to hasten the release of funds for relief missions in flooded towns in the province.
Provincial relief agencies have intensified their relief mission to affected families by providing them with food and other emergency assistance like mats and blanket.