By Philippine News Agency
Around P7.5 million worth agricultural crops were destroyed in parts of South Cotabato in the last two months due attacks from various pests.
Justina Navarrete, chief of the South Cotabato Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG), said Thursday the crop damages were caused by rodents, corn plant hoppers, slug caterpillar and Brontispa.
She said the infestations mainly affected palay and corn plants in varying stages and coconut trees in Koronadal City and in the municipalities of Norala, Tantangan, Tampakan and Tupi.
Affected were 254 hectares of farmlands owned by at least 320 farmers in the nine infested barangays.
Hardest hit were Norala and Tantangan towns, which recorded a combined damage to palay crops of around P4.73 million due to rodent or rat attacks. It affected 140 farmers, covering 115.7 hectares.
In Koronadal City, some P1.6 million worth of corn crops from 95.1 hectares of farmlands owned by 129 farmers were also destroyed by rodents.
Corn planthoppers wiped out around P1.1 million worth of corn crops in five barangays in Tampakan and Tupi, affecting 32.7 hectares owned by 46 farmers.
At least 2.8 hectares of coconut plantations were ravaged by slug caterpillars and Brontispa in Tampakan town, leaving an estimated damage of P246,425.
“This is still partial and we’re still waiting for damage reports from the other municipalities,” Navarrete said.
Citing a recent meeting with agriculture officials and personnel of the province’s 10 municipalities and lone city, she said almost all farm areas were affected by rodent infestations.
In the last five years, the official said pest infestations caused the bulk of the reported crop damages in the province.
Last year, around P164.42 million worth of farm crops were destroyed due to pest attacks in parts of the province.
The infestations were caused by black bug, rodents, rice stemborer, locusts, slug caterpillar, and chrysomellid bettle.