The city government of Bayawan in Negros Oriental has declared a state of calamity due to the destruction of crops and farm products, including corn and palay, as a result of the El Niño phenomenon.
Heavy damage was reported on rice fields due to dried-up irrigation systems, affecting more than 24,520 families. Crop damage in Bayawan was estimated at P79,187,879, with sugarcane damage at P30,132,000; rice P25,545,775, and corn at P18,561,468.
Rice farmer Ruperto Perinal said he noticed a big reduction of his income since January this year. He used to harvest 130 sacks of palay every hectare during normal times, but with El Niño, he can only harvest 30 sacks of palay per hectare.
He said the devastation has caused the farmers to abandon their rice fields. In fact, only Barangay Nangka is being supplied with water from the irrigation due to a very low supply of water.
The three other rice-producing barangays in Bayawan City, namely Maninihon, Villareal and Poblacion, do not have supply of water.
The water level is very low and Bayawan River is almost dried up.
The Department of Agriculture already conducted a cloud-seeding activity last week but the farmers said it was not enough, Bayawan City Administrator Rene Gaudiel said.
As a result of the declaration, some P35 million worth of calamity fund coming from the 30 percent Quick Response Fund will be used to help the affected farmers, even as the city is also asking for more help from the provincial and national governments. *JG
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