The dry spell that gripped Bohol for several months has damaged at least half a billion pesos worth of agricultural products across the province which is now under a state of calamity, an agriculture official said.
According to assistant provincial agriculturist Larry Pamugas, they recorded P547.2 million worth of damage to crops including rice and corn, vegetables and other agricultural products in drought-stricken municipalities across the province.
The figure is expected to further increase as the data did not cover all of Bohol’s 47 towns, Pamugas said.
Last week, Bohol was placed under a state of calamity through a resolution passed by the Provincial Board (PB) due to the drought that also caused shortage of water supply for both irrigation and household needs in some municipalities.
The declaration allowed the government to tap its calamity fund which will be used to extend hastened aid to the affected towns.
Provincial Board Member Ricky Masamayor, after the resolution’s passage, said that the provincial government will be coordinating with concerned municipal local government units to discuss needed projects and initiatives to mitigate the effects of the drought which will be financed through the calamity fund.
Meanwhile, cloud-seeding operations funded by the Department of Agriculture have started over Bohol’s four major dams in preparation for the next cropping season.
According to Pamugas, Bohol started to experience rains, some of which are of natural causes while others are artificially induced through cloud seeding.
Pamugas earlier said that the calamity fund is needed to support the livelihood of farmers affected by the drought, adding that harvest yield significantly dropped province-wide while only 60 percent of irrigated areas were planted with crops particularly palay.
Data provided by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist has shown that the drought affected around 100,000 farming families across Bohol. (rt)