Farmers from Amucao, Tarlac take advantage of the sunny weather on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, to harvest rice.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
El Niño damage to agriculture sector hits P5-billion mark
( - April 2, 2019 - 7:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — Crop damage caused by El Niño has reached the P5-billion mark, with rice and corn production wilting in the heat, latest estimates from the Department of Agriculture released Tuesday showed.

According to updates from the DA’s disaster-monitoring office as of Tuesday noon, production inflicted by the El Niño dry spell to the farm sector stood at P5.05 billion.

READ: Duterte backs creation of Department of Water

Of the total crop damage, rice — a Filipino main staple — accounted for 53 percent while corn was at 47 percent.

The drought has so far hit 164,672 farmers.

Although reports suggest a milder occurrence this year, economists say the El Niño dry spell remains a threat to the country’s inflation outlook.

On Monday, the World Bank cut its Philippine growth forecasts for this year and next, citing, among others, the El Niño phenomenon that might reduce farm output and raise food prices.

READ: World Bank lowers Philippines growth outlook

Agriculture production has historically contributed about a tenth to gross domestic product and accounted for a fourth of employed persons. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

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