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El Niño damage to agriculture surpassed P1.2B —NDRRMC


El Niño damage to agriculture surpassed P1.2B, NDRRMC says

SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueca Ecija - The country’s agriculture losses due to the impact of the ongoing El Niño phenomenon have reached more than P1.2 billion, figures from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) showed.

In its situational report issued Wednesday, the NDRRMC reported that the production loss and damage to agriculture was estimated at P1,236,853,305.

At least 26,731 hectares of crops and 29,409 farmers and fisherfolks were likewise affected by the El Niño phenomenon.

Around 84,731 families or 416,820 individuals in 378 barangays in 10 provinces were adversely impacted by the scorching heat.

Seventeen areas in the country have declared a state of calamity.

Eleven cities and municipalities suspended classes while water supply was affected in four areas.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. on Wednesday said the agency will extend aid to the affected farmers by providing planting inputs.

“As of the moment, we’re at the height of El Niño…Hopefully by May, patapos na 'yan, panama na. What we can do is give whatever seeds and fertilizers you can give and other types of plants na 'di nagre-require ng masyadong tubig,” Tiu Laurel told reporters in a press briefing in Nueva Ecija.

(As of the moment, we’re at the height of El Niño…Hopefully, it will ease by May. What we can do is give whatever seeds and fertilizers you can give and other types of plants that do not require much water.)

Tiu Laurel also said the DA is eyeing a possible memorandum of understanding with the Department  of Labor and Employment in providing alternative livelihood to the affected farmers.

The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by the abnormal warming of sea surface temperature in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and below-normal rainfall.

State weather bureau PAGASA in May 2023 issued an El Niño Alert after forecasts showed that the phenomenon may emerge in the next three months at 80% probability and may last until the first quarter of 2024.

Last week, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. said that the impacts of the ongoing El Niño phenomenon would continue until August.

PAGASA meanwhile said the peak heat index of the dry season may be experienced in April and May. —KG, GMA Integrated News

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