The city may not directly suffer from drought brought about by the El Niño phenomenon, but its impact will be on the prices of agricultural products being sold here, City Agriculture Officer Leo Brian Leuterio said.
Leuterio said some sources of agricultural commodities that are entering the city have low rainfall.
Based on the rainfall forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration, in the first quarter of the year, dry spell will hit Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Misamis Occidental, Sulu, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay.
Although it is not among those that listed to suffer from drought, Leuterio said Digos City, where the city sources some of its vegetables, has started feeling the impact.
“The bad news is, even if we are not directly hit, our producing areas are,” Leuterio told reporters at the sidelines of the city council session Tuesday, adding that the city gets its “supply of almost everything from these provinces – from exotic commodities, to celery, broccoli, corn, kangkong, and others,” he said.
The looming decrease in supply of vegetable products from the affected areas “will dictate price issues,” Leuterio said.
To mitigate the problem, he said the Disaster Risk Reduction group, with the order of City Administrator Zuleika Lopez, has started discussing the issue.
“We are also very concerned about is that the drought will hit Cebu and some parts of Luzon. These are very big markets,” Leuterio said.
Based on Lueterio’s explanation, these markets will very likely source out commodities from Mindanao with the occurrence of drought.
If these big markets compete with other buyers for commodities from Mindanao, our local market will be forced to increase prices of commodities here as well,” he explained.
Leuterio also ensured that the City Agriculture Office has also long prepared for drought. “On a project context, the mayor approved our procurement request for a P7.9 million (to buy a) backhoe (that will be used in setting up) a water catchment basin for every barangay that will help store water,” he said.