Cold weather’s toll in Cebu now P26M

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

AT LEAST P26 million worth of crops and livestock have been lost in Cebu Province, including Cebu City, because of the cold weather, officials said.

In Cebu City, a total of 354 hectares of vegetable plantations were damaged and 134 heads of livestock have died, with an estimate value of P22.24 million.

“Financial assistance for the affected farmers and animal owners is being considered.


The provincial veterinarian, Dr. Rose Vincoy, recommends restocking animals, subject to guidelines,” said Provincial Information Officer Ethel Natera in a text message.

Cebu City Hall’s agriculture and veterinarian’s offices will work with the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Oplan Kabukiran, which is tasked with addressing the needs of farmers.

Tests by the DA showed that one cause of the upland animals’ deaths is pseudomonas SPP, a bacterial infection that strikes creatures whose immune systems have been compromised by stress, such as that caused by prolonged exposure to cold weather.

Veterinarian Dr. Ted Dabocol of the DA diagnostic laboratory, said a press statement from the agency, said the infection causes fever, chills and general weakness among animals subjected to stress such as prolonged cold, rain or warm weather.

“Animals can build resistance against such bacteria through proper nutrition and shelter from the elements that cause them stress and lower resistance to diseases,” the statement added. It said antibiotics and vitamins had been distributed to the livestock owners.

Cold weather damages crops in Cebu
Matthew Radana, 73, shows some damaged eggplants in his farm in Sitio Cantipla, Barangay Tabunan, Cebu City, which has come under a cold spell and prolonged rains these recent weeks. (Alex Badayos)

Crops affected

The cold spell has recently prompted the Cebu City Council to declare 17 barangays under a state of calamity.

It sent a damage assessment report to the Provincial Agriculturist Office, where it identified some of the affected barangays as Lusaran, Adlaon, Sirao, Tagba-o, Taptap, Bonbon, Guba, Cambinocot, Paril, Budlaan, Pung-ol Sibugay, Sudlon II, Sudlon I, Sinsin and Tabunan.

The damage to crops in 15 of the affected barangays has reportedly reached P1.745 million. Barangay Tagba-o reported the highest estimate, at P579,800 worth of crops lost. It also reported the loss of 22 heads of cattle, eight goats, 30 chicks and a sheep.

Among the crops affected are sweet corn, eggplant, bitter gourd, tomato, string beans, baguio beans, lettuce, cucumber, peppers, spring onion and cabbage.

Fruits like bananas and mangoes, and some orchids have also been affected.

Last January 21, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in Mactan recorded the coldest temperature in Cebu so far this year, at 21.8 degrees Celsius.

Prep time

Pagasa chief Oscar Tabada said that in Cebu’s mountain barangays, the temperature probably reached 18.2 degrees Celsius.

Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Saragena pointed out that the weather in recent days was no longer as cold as last week, so the residents may plant soon the high-value vegetable seeds that the Capitol will distribute.

Saragena said that a month after the seeds are planted, some crops like kangkong, pechay and other leafy vegetables can then be harvested.

“Gradually mawa na ning kabugnaw. Timing pud kaayo ma-prepare pud nila pagbalik ang ilang umahan (The weather will get warmer soon. Farmers can use this time to prepare their fields),” said Saragena.

In Balamban town, the cold weather has been blamed for the deaths of 43 cows, 11 goats, two horses and two carabaos, with an estimate value of P995,000.

About 93 hectares of vegetables, estimated at P2.904 million, were also damaged, according to an initial assessment by municipal agriculturist Felojyn Sundo.

The 11 barangays affected in Balamban are Gaas, Sunog, Cabasiangan, Nangka, Hingatmonan, Cansomoroy, Vito, Cabagdalan, Liki, Biasong and Singsing.

Seeds, fertilizers

Danao City Agriculturist Mario Gorre reported, for his part, that nine hectares of crops were damaged in three barangays, causing the loss of some P710,000.

These are Barangays Sacsac, Lawaan and Dungga.

Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Saragena said the Province will initially purchase P100,000 worth of vegetable seeds and organic fertilizers for the affected local governments.

The Provincial Agriculture Office has yet to receive the damage assessment in Dalaguete and Toledo City.

A team from the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) was sent last week and took blood samples from the affected animals to find out what killed them.

Based on the Provincial Information Office’s (PIO) press statement, the PVO is conducting a two-day mission in Balamban, which started yesterday.

The team brought feeds, vitamins, antibiotics and Betadine solution for the animals.

A monitoring team was also assigned in the area.

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III said he plans to visit the affected barangays in Balamban.

24-hour office

In Cebu City, Joel Elumba, OIC-regional director for regulations of the DA, met with Cebu City Veterinarian Pilar Romero and City Agriculturist Joey Baclayon on Wednesday afternoon.

They decided to implement Oplan Kabukiran, a task force to address the needs of farmers affected by the extreme weather.

Elumba said they established an extension office in Barangay Taptap with staff from the city agriculturist and veterinarian’s offices, so any farmer’s call for help can be responded to 24 hours a day.

Romero will head Oplan Kabukiran’s unit for health concerns, while Baclayon will lead the task force on crop health.

DA 7 assists by providing vitamin supplements and antibiotics and by collecting blood for lab tests, when needed.

Elumba added that supplements, such as vitamins A, D and E, will be administered to animals in the affected areas.

Another activity of Oplan Kabukiran will be teaching farmers in affected areas about the proper care of livestock and crop management in extreme weather conditions. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 30, 2014.

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