Despite El Niño's gradual weakening in June, the Department of Agriculture, through the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center (DA-DRRM), recorded the remaining impacts of the hot and dry conditions on food commodities such as rice, corn, and other high-value crops.

As of June 6, the DA-DRRM reported over P9.89 billion in agricultural losses due to the dry spell, affecting 170,469 hectares.

Rice suffered the most, with 48% of the losses valued at P4.75 billion, followed by corn at 34% (P3.37 billion) and high-value crops at 17% (P1.7 billion).

On the other hand, the fisheries sector obtained over P57.7 million worth of damage, which includes the production of tilapia, carp, bangus, catfish, shrimp, seaweeds and sea urchins.

Livestock and poultry faced P10.47 million in losses.

Overall, nearly 200,000 farmers and fisherfolk were hit by the adverse effects of El Niño, with a total agri volume loss estimated at 441,801 MT.

Actions taken

The agriculture sector saw a 71% percent opportunity to recover 121,367 hectares of land that suffered during the hot weather.

Through the Rice Farmer Financial Assistance (RFFA), around P8.59 billion worth of financial aid will be provided to farmers and fisherfolk nationwide.

Agri growers will then receive a value of P659.17 million for agri-inputs such as fertilizers and planting materials, among others.

The Department of Finance (DOF), through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), will allot P177.12 million for the 20,372 farmers who suffered the El Niño damage.

Rice machinery and equipment worth P8 million will be given by the DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech).

P99.38 million has been set aside for the Survival and Recovery (SURE) aid Loan from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), and around P5.19 million worth of coconut seeds have been distributed by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

The DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) have weighed in with their composting facilities and irrigation projects that incurred P65 million and P294 million, respectively.

To assist the fishermen and animal farmers, around P8.99 million will be allocated for machinery and equipment; while 66,039 native animals will be dispersed through the Philippine Native Animal Development Program (PNAD).

Furthermore, to solve the water crisis, the Magat Dam will undergo a cloudseeding operation through a collaborative effort with the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) and the Department of National Defense-Philippine Air Force (DND-PAF).

Aside from the monetary assistance, 616 water pumps have been installed to supply enough water to farmlands, while irrigation canals were concreted to boost water delivery and improve the water flow to agricultural areas nationwide.

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