The regional office of the Department of Agriculture reported that as of last month, about P55.3 million in crops were destroyed by the dry spell.
Roy Pascua, focal person at the agency’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, most of those affected were the Matanao, Magsaysay, Hagunoy, Tiblawan, and Bansalan in Davao del Sur as about 2,000 hectares of farms and 1,900 farmers were affected.
In the city, Councilor Marissa Abella said the city government is preparing the necessary assistance to farmers affected by the dry spell.
Abella said farmers must be able to use new technologies like drip irrigation system to combat drought.
“We have to upgrade our agriculture practices by exposing them to new technologies. Among those is the drip irrigation,” she said.
Drip irrigation is a micro-irrigation system that uses a water tank as reservoir of water from rivers and allows the water to drip onto the plants. The drip irrigation system may have a sprinkler or a tube.
“In Paquibato, a demo-farm has this technology that is priced P70, 000 for a hectare of Cavendish banana,” Abella said, pointing out that the technology results in less cost in farm inputs.
She added that farmers should also start forming themselves into cooperatives for them to be able to access funds from government financial institutions like the Land Bank of the Philippines.
“My office offers assistance to farmers who want to avail of loans from Landbank. We can bridge these cooperatives to access loans,” she said, adding that one way to do it is for the city government to guarantee the loans of cooperatives.
Pascua added that the agency is also monitoring the water levels of dams in Davao del Sur, it being the one with utmost need for help, and is assessing whether cloud seeding msut be done next week.
“We already deployed open source water pumps for the water irrigation,” he said, pointing out that the need for water is urgent as some farmers have abandoned their farms due to the shortage of water.
The agency, he added, will also give seeds and other farm inputs as farmers are also advised to apply for insurance of their crops with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.