Iloilo – Drones were flown over agricultural areas in drought-stricken Iloilo Province to advance aerial assessment procedures and inform disaster preparedness and response efforts. The mission was deployed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as a follow on to the launch of its joint initiative in March, which integrates the use of drone technology in agriculture disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM).
FAO Representative in the Philippines José Luis Fernández and Director Christopher Morales of the DA Field Operations Service observe a drone being launched in Pototan, Iloilo. (Photo credit: DA/Mylene Subang)
“Closely observing the extent of damage experienced in the province could help technical experts in determining areas for improvement in the drone mapping methodology that is currently being developed by DA with the support of FAO,” said FAO Representative in the Philippines José Luis Fernández.
Based on DA reports, more than 25 000 hectares of agricultural areas in Iloilo have been affected by prolonged dry spells. Preliminary assessments also indicate that it is among the provinces with the largest number of farmers struggling from the impacts of the current El Niño.
In Passi City, rice farmers have reported experiencing as much as a 75 percent drop in harvest during the last cropping season. Data-rich maps generated from drone flights in Passi City and Pototan Municipality will allow DA technical specialists to provide sound and evidence-based recommendations. The two-day mission covered approximately 800 hectares.