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DA raises El Niño damage to P4.35B

The current estimate of El Niño's damage to agriculture due has tripled from the government's initial figure, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Sunday.

According to the DA's Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center (DRRM), damage to the agriculture sector was at P4.35 billion as of 12 p.m. on Sunday, March 31.

This is more than triple or 227.06 percent higher than the initial estimate of P1.3 billion which the DA reported last week.

In its latest report, the DA said the total area affected was 149,494 hectares, with the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) accounting for 31 percent.

This was followed by Region V with 19 percent, II with 16 percent, BARMM with 9 percent, X with 8 percent, IV-B with 6 percent, and VIII with 5 percent.

In terms of volume, a total of 233,006 metric tons (MT) were lost due to El Niño. Sixty-two percent or 125,589 MT was rice production lost, while the remaining 38 percent or 107,416 MT was corn.

In terms of value, P2.69 billion was lost in rice, while P1.66 billion was lost in corn production.

The DA added that P95.875 million in financial assistance from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council allotted to the Survival and Recovery Assistance Program will benefit some 3,835 affected farmers.

However, the latest data available shows that a total of 138,859 farmers have been affected by the El Niño: 108,845 rice farmers, and 30,014 corn farmers.

"Field validation is still ongoing in the affected regions," the DA DRRM Operations Center said in a post on its Facebook account.

"The DA-DRRM Operations Center will continue to monitor and provide further updates on the effects of El Niño," it said.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) last week said that the El Niño is expected to slash 0.2 percentage points from the country's full-year economic growth this year. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM, GMA News