Unifed affirms SRA on drought damage to sugarcane fields

Posted by watchmen
March 11, 2024

By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga

The United Sugar Producers Federation (Unifed) affirmed earlier statements of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) which reported damage to sugarcane fields in Negros Island due to the ongoing drought.

Unifed president Manuel Lamata said around 100,000 of the more than 300,000 hectares of sugarcane fields in Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental have been affected.

Lamata said the losses incurred due to the extensive effects of the El Niño phenomenon have reached billions of pesos.

He also said that they no longer tried to seek an audience with the SRA, as they were well-aware that the agency would be unable to fully address the situation.

Instead, Lamata is calling the Negrenses to pray for the rains.

Earlier, SRA chief agriculturist Ma. Lourdes Almodiente said they have been receiving reports of damaged sugarcane fields in Negros.

Almodiente said the data on the damage is expected to be released this week.

The SRA confirmed that they received initial reports that the southern and central Negros incurred the most intense damage.

Almodiente said they had been informing sugar farmers about the effects of El Niño on crops, while citing weather projections from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

The SRA will also hand over irrigation facilities for rapid propagation and to save sugarcane plantations, as well as fertilizers to farmer-beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, Almodiente said the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Soils and Water Management are in talks over the proposal to conduct cloud-seeding operations in Negros Occidental.

Based on their initial information, Almodiente said Negros Island is the hardest-hit by crop damage, while some parts of the Visayas, such as Cebu, Leyte and Panay are still experiencing rains./DGB, WDJ

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