El Niño deals blow to rice, corn crops

The Agriculture department reported Wednesday that P1.33 billion worth of crops has been lost due to the ongoing dry spell.

The department’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center said the loss figure as of March 18 was significantly higher than the P464.27 million in losses reported a week earlier.

Some 78,348 metric tons in rice and corn production were lost due to drought in the Cordillera region, the Ilocos region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western and Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao region, Soccsksargen and the Bangsamoro region.

The losses affected 84,932 corn and rice farmers, the department said.

The weather bureau announced a weak El Niño in February and warned that it would intensify toward the end of March and last until June.

Flaviana Hilario, the weather bureau’s deputy administrator for research and development, said the weak El Niño phenomenon is likely to become more severe and could cause a delay in the rainy season that could threaten Metro Manila’s water supply.

Benison Estareja, a weather forecaster, said over 95 percent of the country is getting only “way below normal” rainfall.  

READ: El Niño manageable—LGUs

READ: El Niño impact heats up early, drought in 22 provinces seen

READ: Agriculture prepares to cushion El Niño

READ: El Niño threatens food security, senator warns

Topics: Department of Agriculture , Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center , El Niño phenomenon
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