Maguindanao farmers lose crops due to El Niño
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - February 4, 2016 - 9:00am

KORONADAL CITY, Philippines – Rice and corn fields in 17 of 36 towns in Maguindanao have been destroyed due to the dry spell.

Field workers are still validating reports on the extent of the damage in the 19 other towns, according to officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“Before the end of January, our estimate of crop damage is P120 million and it is rising,” Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said yesterday.

DA officials said rice and cornfields in Ampatuan, Datu Unsay, South Upi, Mamasapano, Montawal, Guindulungan, Talayan, Shariff Saidona, Datu Abdullah Sangki and Datu Anggal Midtimbang towns suffered the most extensive damage.

Datu Odin Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Northern Kabuntalan, North Upi, Buldon, Sultan Mastura and Sultan Kudarat were also affected by the drought.

Mangudadatu said rats also destroyed rice and corn farms in Maguindanao.

He thanked the provincial board for acting on his request to declare a state of calamity in the province to hasten the delivery of humanitarian services to affected communities.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan issued the declaration last week.

Mangudadatu said the provincial government’s emergency response team led by chief budget officer Lynette Estandarte is working on contingency measures to cushion the impact of the drought.

Cloud seeding

Meanwhile, the DA said cloud-seeding operations in Central Mindanao since last week has induced scattered rains.

Amalia Jayag-Datukan, DA director  for Soccsksargen, said Koronadal City and the towns of Santo Niño, Lake Sebu, Polomolok and Tupi towns experienced rainfall.

Datukan said there were also light to moderate rains in parts of Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato and Sarangani.

At least 147 bags of salt have been used in cloud-seeding operations since last month.

AMALIA JAYAG-DATUKAN AUTONOMOUS REGION CENTRAL MINDANAO DATU ABDULLAH SANGKI AND DATU ANGGAL MIDTIMBANG DATU ODIN SINSUAT DATU UNSAY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ESMAEL MANGUDADATU KORONADAL CITY LAKE SEBU LYNETTE ESTANDARTE
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