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El Niño impacts six hectares of rice fields in Davao del Sur

SIX HECTARES of rice fields in Matanao, Davao del Sur have been negatively impacted by El Niño, an official from the Department of Agriculture XI revealed.

During the Agri Biz Forum on Jan. 23, Joedel Leliza, DA XI Disaster Risk Reduction Management focal person, said they got the data from the Municipal Agriculture Office of Matanao.

Leliza said the local agriculture office observed heat stress on the rice fields, but it does not necessarily mean the situation is critical. She clarified the effects of prolonged drought on plants are gradual.

If the plant wilts, for instance, the department will first assess if the situation is irreversible before reporting it as damaged.

As of this writing, only the municipality of Matanao reported damage in rice fields while the rest of the municipalities have observed minor effects.

Despite the widespread flooding experienced in Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, and Davao Occidental, the official said the rains from the shear line weather condition have become beneficial water sources for Davao del Sur. 

As of Jan. 22, DA XI initially recorded P145,435,917 million worth of flood damage to agricultural lands in the region.

The official said P1 billion has been earmarked for the quick response fund (QRF) to for rehabilitation and assistance to affected farmers.

To mitigate the effects of the dry spell, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued Executive Order No. 53 on Jan. 19, reactivating the El Niño Task Force to prioritize food, energy, health, water security, and public safety as the five critical sectors.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) forecast El Niño to be stronger in the first quarter of 2024 and will peak this April.


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