El Niño agri damage breaches P941 million | Inquirer News

El Niño agri damage breaches P941 million

A farmer transplants rice seedlingsin a paddy in Pulilan, Bulacan

WATER STILL AVAILABLE A farmer transplants rice seedlings in a paddy in Pulilan, Bulacan, this week as his farm continues to get irrigation water. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Damage to agriculture due to the El Niño weather phenomenon has breached P941 million, with heavy losses incurred mostly by rice and corn farmers, government reports showed.

Data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as of Thursday said Western Visayas posted the highest amount of crop losses with P564,056,192 followed by Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) with P319,755,957. The Ilocos region reported P54,450,077 in losses, while Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) had P2,750,947 and Zamboanga Peninsula, P717,527.


A separate report by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Cagayan Valley, however, showed corn farmers in the region incurring P180 million in losses, mostly in rainfed farms.


The NDRRMC said more than P362 million worth of assistance had been given to farmers in the Mimaropa region. On Monday, Bulalacao town in Oriental Mindoro was placed under a state of calamity due to the impact of El Niño.

The weather phenomenon, characterized by below-normal rainfall conditions, has so far affected 16,709 farmers and fisherfolk and 14,854.86 hectares of crops around the country, the NDRRMC said.

Water interruptions due to El Nino have also been reported in Western Visayas and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

The NDRRMC said that by the end of February, 24 provinces in Luzon and a province in the Visayas had “potential for meteorological drought conditions,” 17 provinces for “dry spell,” while 10 provinces for “dry conditions.”

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) declared the onset of El Niño on July 4 last year. The government’s Task Force El Niño on Thursday said the impact of strong El Niño would affect 80 of the country’s 82 provinces.

El Niño agri damagebreaches P941M

QUICK HARVEST As portions of a corn field in the village of Leet in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, starts to dry up in early February, a farmer uses a mechanized harvester to make his job of harvesting easier amid the dry conditions and absence of rainfall brought about by the El Niño phenomenon. —WILLIE LOMIBAO

Cagayan Valley

In northern Luzon, corn farmer Peter John Paguirigan, 47, said they barely recouped their investments in their 1-ha farm in Quirino town in Isabela province.


“You see now, we have to harvest these early to minimize further losses. You can see a few corn kernels as the lower part of the farm was submerged … in December, but [we are experiencing] drought now,” Paguirigan said in an interview on Tuesday.

He appealed for government subsidies and other forms of assistance to help them recover.

Paul Vincent Balao, DA Cagayan Valley El Niño action officer, said their assessment showed that corn planted in 8,737 ha was classified as damaged while those in 276 ha were destroyed.

Government weather forecasters said about 240,000 ha of farms might be directly affected by the drought, mostly in the northern portions of Isabela and southern portions of Cagayan.

The DA said cloud seeding operations started in Cagayan Valley to generate rains in agricultural areas in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya.

Negros Occidental

In Negros Occidental, the provincial agriculturist reported more than P55 million in losses to rice and corn planted in 1,064 ha.

Rep. Emilio Yulo III of Negros Occidental’s fifth district said he asked the DA and the Sugar Regulatory Administration two months ago to conduct cloud seeding operations in the province.

“It would be difficult for my office to provide financial assistance to the affected farmers for lack of resources unless it comes from the national government,” Yulo said.

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Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said the provincial government was preparing to give financial assistance to farmers affected by El Niño.

TAGS: Agriculture, El Niño

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