El Niño Hits High Value Crops In Guimaras

The Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) of the island province of Guimaras has reported losses of about PHP11 million worth of agricultural products, especially on high value crops, due to El Niño.

“Based on our partial report, damages in our rice was pegged at less than a million, for the corn it’s about PHP200, 000. Most of the damages are seen on high value crops like vegetables, cacao, and coffee,” said Ronnie Morante, Guimaras PAO head, in an interview on Saturday.

Cacao, specifically, was distributed to farmers sometime in August and in September in 2018. Farmers planted the crop around the period of distribution and the crops were affected by the El Niño in February and March this year.

Morante said the PHP11-million agriculture damage could still increase.

“We are projecting this (increase on damages) because we haven’t experienced rain yet so we are projecting that the damages will reach PHP15 million,” he said.

Unlike the high value crops, he said rice farmers in the province heeded the advice of the agriculture office thus the impact on rice crops was prevented.

As of February, Guimaras yielded 57,100 metric tons of rice which placed the province at 151% sufficiency of the staple food.

Morante said El Niño is a “favorable” weather to mangoes as Guimaras is known for its sweetest mangoes.

“It is a favorable weather to mangoes, cashew nuts, and salt production but some of our mangoes bear smaller fruits,” he said.

Part of the intervention programs of the PAO is the distribution of grafted cacao seedlings, vegetable seeds, and planting materials for coffee, during the rainy season.

Morante said although the effect of the dry weather is felt in the towns of Buenavista, Jordan, Nueva Valencia, San Lorenzo and Sibunag, no municipality was placed under a state of calamity. (PNA)

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