El Niño agriculture damage climbs to P9.5 billion

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
El Niño agriculture damage climbs to P9.5 billion
A farmer checks a portion of a dried rice field along Pulilan-Baliuag Bypass Road in Bulacan on February 26, 2024.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Damage to agriculture due to the strong El Niño has ballooned to P9.5 billion, the Department of Agriculture reported yesterday.

The DA said 163,694 hectares of agricultural land as well as 175,063 farmers and fisherfolk were affected.

Rice remains the most affected commodity, accounting for 48.47 percent or P4.6 billion of the damage.

Damage to corn was pegged at P3.17 billion and high-value crops at P1.65 billion.

Losses incurred by the fishery sector were placed at 57.72 million; livestock and poultry, P10.47 million, and cassava, P3.42 million.

The DA said it provided P8.59 billion worth of aid to affected farmers under the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance program aside from P658.22 million in agri-inputs, fertilizers, planting materials, pumps and engines, among other paraphernalia.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the El Niño phenomenon continues to weaken and is expected to transition to neutral from April to June.

PAGASA said 74 provinces have been affected by El Niño as of April, 46 of which had experienced drought.

State of calamity eyed in Bohol

Meanwhile, the Bohol Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) has recommended to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to place the entire province under a state of calamity due to the effects of El Niño.

Damage to agriculture due to drought in the province has reached P420.8 million, according to the provincial agriculture office.

Rice crops incurred 92.4 percent of the damage; corn, four percent; high-value crops, 1.42 percent, and cassava, 2.09 percent.

Damage to livestock was pegged at P433,294, based on the report of seven towns.

Fisheries incurred damage amounting to P756,900 in nine towns.

Grass fires have affected parts of the Chocolate Hills in Carmen town and mountains in nearby areas.

Gov. Aris Aumentado has reportedly given the go-signal for an emergency meeting of the PDRRMC to discuss the effects of drought.

Cebu, Iloilo, Occidental Mindoro, Antique, Sultan Kudarat, Basilan, Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, South Cotabato and Negros Oriental are the provinces earlier placed under a state of calamity due to extreme heat.

The entire Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is also under a state of calamity due to drought. — Ric Obedencio

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