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El Niño agriculture damage in 8 regions hits P1.75 billion

MANILA, Philippines, March 19 ------ The amount of damage to agriculture in eight regions has reached P1.75 billion as the El Niño phenomenon intensifies, according to the Department of Agriculture. DA spokesman Arnel de Mesa said the damage covered 32,231 hectares of farm lands, with at least 29,437 farmers displaced.


The eight regions are Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Western Visayas, Zamboanga peninsula and Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos). “Most affected was Mimaropa, which incurred P770 million damage to agriculture, followed by Western Visayas with P560 million; Cagayan Valley, P180 million; Central Luzon, P158 million; Ilocos, P54 million; Zamboanga peninsula, 13 million; Calabarzon, P7 million, and Soccsksargen, P2 million,” De Mesa said. He said that among crops, rice incurred the most damage with P1.1 billion followed by corn with P317 million covering 18,000 and 11,000 hectares of farms, respectively.


High-value crops incurred P305 million damage covering 2,000 hectares of farms, while P59,000 worth of livestock was lost. Latest data showed that production losses for palay reached 48,332 metric tons; corn, 18,966 and high value crops, 7,794 tons. The DA said at least P379.06 million worth of assistance has been provided to affected farmers. “Among the assistance provided to affected farmers in Iloilo and Negros Occidental were high-value crop seeds and seedlings that require less water. The DA distributed palay seeds and fertilizers worth P7.87 million and P7.63 million, respectively, to non-vulnerable areas in Western Visayas to compensate for the losses,” the DA said.


The agency said at least P362.56 million in financial assistance from the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance Program was released to 71,795 affected farmers in Mimaropa. Thirty-five rice and 16 corn farmers in Ilocos, Central Luzon and Mimaropa have been indemnified by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. with a total amount of P1.24 million. “The DA is coordinating with local government units to fast-track the provision of financial assistance to affected farmers,” the agency said.


The National Irrigation Administration installed 570 water augmentation pumps in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa and Western Visayas. “Farmers are continuously adopting the alternate wetting-and-drying method to reduce water consumption in 162,623 hectares of agricultural areas. The quick turnaround strategy was implemented and benefitted 3,878.15 hectares of agricultural areas and 1,657 farmers in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa and Soccsksargen,” the DA said.


The DA regional offices in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and Mimaropa have started endorsing the list of affected farmers to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Department of Labor and Employment for other forms of assistance.




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