El Niño brings havoc to agri areas

Some P8 billion worth of agricultural damage due to El Niño, which forced 43 local government units to declare a state of calamity, has been registered, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

READ: El Niño manageable—LGUs

El Niño brings havoc to agri areas
DEPTHS OF DISTRESS. A farmer stands by his lonesome while studying his future from damaged corn crops caused by El Niño in his Barangay Magbato in Lambunao in Iloilo Thursday. Local agriculturists say losses in agri products have climbed up to P1.026 billion due to the dry spell. Norman Cruz
The NDRRMC’s report, released on Friday, estimated that agricultural damages went up to P7.962 billion. The affected areas include Regions CAR, I, II, III, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, V, Vl, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region—or 14 of the country’s 17 regions.

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

A total of 78,691 families or 393,455 persons were affected by the drought or dry spell in Regions XI (Davao Region) and XII (Soccsksargen), the report added.

Also, a total of 247,610 farmers were affected in all regions except the National Capital Region and Region IV, it added. To compensate for the lack of water, a total of 10 cloud-seeding operations have been undertaken since March 26, it added.

Nearly three weeks ago, the Department of Agriculture said damage to rice and corn crops due to El Niño had reached P5.7 billion.

READ: El Niño deals blow to rice, corn crops

The losses had exceeded the agency’s initial forecast of P1.7 billion, Agriculture Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan said.

In a situation overview,  NDRRMC Executive Director Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad said recent climate monitoring and analyses by the state weather bureau PAGASA indicate that the unusually warm Sea Surface Temperatures in the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific, which started since November 2018, “is expected to become a full-blown El Niño.”

“During the past three months, rainfall analyses showed that impacts of below normal rainfall conditions in provinces of Western Mindanao and Ilocos Norte were already experienced and are expected to continue,” Jalad said in the report.

The El Niño is anticipated to be weak and will likely result to below normal rainfall conditions in different parts of the country in the coming months, he added.

“Impacts also include slightly warmer surface temperatures in varying degrees from place to place and from time to time. With this development, the El Niño Watch issued since July 2018 is upgraded to El Niño Advisory on 20 February 2019,” the council chief said.

Cayanan said there were reports that the damage was worth P7.4 billion, but the agency had validated only P5.7 billion in losses.

The damage, however, would not result in a shortage of rice and corn, he said. 

This year’s rainy season will be delayed with El Niño expected to last until June, the state meteorology bureau earlier said. With Rio N. Araja

READ: El Niño destroys Mindoro farms

Topics: El Niño phenomenon , agricultural damage , National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council
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