Dealing with El Niño

THE DAVAO del Sur government has placed the province under a state of calamity due to the dry spell brought that has caused an estimated P161.2 million in damage to rice and corn farms. “The losses have been placed at P155.6 million for 3,657 of rice farms and P5.5 million for 321 hectares of corn fields,” Department of Agriculture (DA) Davao Region Disaster Risk Reduction and Management focal person Roy Jose Pascua said last week, noting that the data is based on reports as of March 20. The damage cost is expected to go higher, specifically in the hardest-hit municipalities of Magsaysay, Bansalan, Kiblawan, Hagonoy and Matanao. The declaration of a state of calamity will allow the local government to use emergency funds to assist farmers. Meanwhile, the DA is set to conduct cloud seeding starting this week to May 25 to save the crops that have not yet been harvested. — Carmencita A. Carillo