By Nanette Guadalquiver

CROP DAMAGE. A dried-up rice farm in southern Negros is shown in this undated photo. As of the second week of April, at least 3,116 hectares of rice fields in 23 local government units in Negros Occidental have been damaged, amounting to PHP168.838 million, a report of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) showed. (Photo courtesy of OPA-Negros Occidental)

BACOLOD CITY – Drought has dried up some 3,241 hectares of rice and corn fields in 24 local government units (LGUs) across Negros Occidental, latest data from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) showed.

As of Wednesday, affected are 4,431 farmers in 167 barangays with reported damage to crops totaling PHP173.576 million, based on the period covering November 2023 until April 12, 2024.

OPA officer-in-charge Dina Genzola said they have already submitted the updated damage report to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, who earlier said the provincial government would provide cash assistance to the affected farmers.

Based on the report, a total of 3,116 hectares of rice fields in 23 LGUs have been damaged amounting to PHP168.838 million.

Some 4,266 farmers in 148 barangays have been affected.

Worst-hit are rice farms in the south, particularly Cauayan town and Kabankalan City.  

In Cauayan alone, rice fields in 20 of its 25 villages planted by 1,128 farmers have been affected, with total damage pegged at PHP67.889 million while in Kabankalan, 13 barangays with 1,214 farmers reported damage worth PHP41.910 million.   

The other affected LGUS include Candoni, Bago City, Himamaylan City, San Enrique,  Valladolid, E.B. Magalona, and Hinoba-an.

Damage to corn, which was reported in five LGUs, reached PHP4.737 million.

Calatrava town logged the highest total damage of PHP3.877 million, affecting 83.29 hectares planted by 110 farmers in 13 barangays.

Other affected LGUs include the municipalities of Don Salvador Benedicto, Murcia, Isabela, and Sipalay City. (PNA)