Agricultural damage triggered by the El Niño in the Pacific Ocean stretched P464.27 million as of Monday, March 11, based on data from the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Operations Center of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
22,918 metric tons (MT) of crops have been affected, mostly corn and rice, and 13,679 hectares (ha) of agricultural lands. Production loss for rice had gotten to P377.9 million, or 17,232 MT of rice. This also translates to 9,860 hectares of rice fields affected. While the damage for corn reached P86.4 million, covering 3,819 ha and 5,686 MT of corn produce.
The DRRM Operations Center added this also offset 16,034 farmers and fisherfolk.
The affected regions are: MMaRoPa, the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, SocSarGen and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
PAGASA earlier warned that the Philippines will be experiencing El Niño this year.
The DA’s DRRM Operations Center stated continuing assessment of farm losses and oversee the at-risk standing crops in areas as well as observe the water quantity and quality of fisheries.
The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, which is under the DA, will be discharging crop insurance payments that can cover up to 100% of damage produced by El Niño phenomenon. DA has also set aside seed reserves for rice and corn.
The Agricultural Credit Policy Council will make Production Loan Easy Access grants and Survival and Recovery loan grants available for farmers.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol meanwhile told Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan to lead cloud seeding operations. The cloud seeding maneuvers are scheduled from March 14 to May 21 at a budget of P18.3 million.
The Bureau of Soils and Water Management and the Philippine Air Force begun assessments for pre-cloud seeding in Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa, Central Visayas, and SOCSARGEN.