May 23, 2024

The Cordillera is the third region in the country that incurred the most damage in agriculture due to the El Niño phenomenon.

As of April, the Department of Agriculture reported the El Niño has so far caused an estimated P5.9 billion in damage to agriculture.

The region incurred P768 million worth of damage to agriculture.

“As per Bulletin No. 9, the damage is already at P5.9B, with the rice sector incurring the biggest damage at P3.1B,” Asec. Arnel de Mesa said.

This was followed by production loss in corn worth P1.76B and high-value crops pegged at P958M.

De Mesa said the Mimaropa region remained the most affected area in the country incurring P1.71B worth of damage, followed by Region 6 (Western Visayas) with P1.5B, the Cordillera at P768M, and Cagayan Valley at P562M.

He, however, said the 58,000 hectares of rice production area damaged so far is only 2.27 percent of the country’s total area planted for rice, which is over two million hectares.

The DA earlier projected around 120,000 hectares of damaged rice land before the onslaught of El Niño.

De Mesa said the early planning, rehabilitation, and mitigation measures of the DA, particularly the National Irrigation Administration, helped ease the effects of the phenomenon.

To cushion its impacts on farmers and fishers, the DA has provided interventions worth P2.18B, de Mesa said.

These include the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance worth P1.065B; and P658M worth of inputs such fertilizers, water pumps and engines that are being distributed through the DA regional field offices, he said.

The DA also provided P294.46M worth of irrigation projects, P77.50M worth of Survival and Recovery Loan, P67.93M worth of indemnification or insurance benefits for farmers, and P65.35M worth of composting facilities.

Meanwhile, other DA-attached agencies distributed around P8.99M worth of marine machinery and equipment and P8M for rice machinery and equipment, P5.19M worth of coconut seedlings, 66,039 native animals, 616 water pumps, and 111 diversified alternative livelihoods and technologies, among other aids. – PNA