STATE OF CALAMITY. The Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) of Barbaza has recommended placing the town under the state of calamity because of rice grain bug infestation. MAO chief Juan Marquez said they expect the infestation to drastically reduce the rice production for the third cropping. (Photo courtesy of DA6 Barbaza MAO)

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, ANTIQUE – The Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) of Barbaza has recommended placing the town under state of calamity due to the wide infestation of rice grain bug affecting vast hectares of palay plantation.
 
MAO chief Juan Marquez said he already submitted his recommendation to the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) last week for endorsement to the Municipal Council of Barbaza.
 
“The rice grain bug had infested 587 hectares of palay planted areas in the 14 barangays,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
 
Marquez said farmers first noticed the presence of rice grain bugs in January. Their population increased rapidly, affecting rice plants for the third cropping period.
 
“There are 760 farmers whose third cropping is being affected,” he said.
 
Marquez said they had already reported the concern to the Department of Agriculture (DA), which also sent pesticides and other biological control agents last month which were immediately applied.
 
“Despite the pesticides and other biological control agents application, there are still remaining pests, however, in the standing crops,” he said.
 
With the infestation, Marquez expects a big reduction in the farmers’ palay production. 
 
Farmers could receive assistance from the local government and other national government agencies with the state of calamity, he said.
 
“With the state of calamity, farmers could hopefully be given like food packs by the Department of Social Welfare and Development,” he said. (PNA)