The Cebu Provincial Government through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) has procured P5.6 million worth of aid for farmers affected by drought.
Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Roldan Saragena said the budget came from the quick response fund of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).
The planting materials being purchased include 24,500 packs of vegetable seeds. These are okra, stringbeans, ampalaya, eggplant, squash, tomato, pechay, and upo.
It also includes at least 350 bags of corn seeds, 30,000 pieces of banana suckers (super cardaba), 16,000 bundles of cassava seed pieces and camote cuttings, and 50 kilograms of seaweed cuttings.
Saragena stated they also have purchased 170 bottles of insecticides against pests that usually come out in the rainy season.
He hoped the materials will be available in the first cropping season which will be in the later part of May or early June when the rainy season kicks in.
However, the Department of Agriculture 7 already committed to start distributing corn seeds to local government units (LGUs) within this month.
Some 10,000 grafted mango seedlings are also available for farmers. Saragena said the interested LGUs are only required to submit a letter of intent to be able to avail of the mango seedlings.
In the initial damage assessment report already validated by OPA, the damage in the agriculture sector already reached P158,801,048.01.
One of the biggest hit commodity by the long drought so far is corn with damage cost pegged at P44,949,570.11.
Damage to high value crops (HVC) already hovered around P103,735,420. These are banana, mango, assorted vegetables and root crops. It also covers legumes, papaya, watermelon, cacao, as well as cut flower and ornamental pots.
HVC Development Program Provincial Coordinator Victor Geralde said they still have to validate the damage assessment reports on mango and banana.
Based on the reports of the city or municipal agriculture’s offices, mango and banana were among the hardest hit by El Niño phenomenon. Their worth is higher compared to other crops.
However, Geralde said that mango plants would usually thrive in heat season as this is their flowering time.