DA urges El Niño-affected farmers to report damaged crops

By Connie Calipay

March 12, 2024, 2:43 pm

<p><em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

(PNA file photo)

LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is urging farmers in the Bicol Region to immediately report crop damage caused by the El Niño phenomenon to their respective Municipal Agriculture Offices (MAOs).

In an interview on Tuesday, Lovella Guarin, DA-Bicol spokesperson, said the report will be beneficial in monitoring, reporting and immediately assisting farmers to cope with the dry spell caused by the phenomenon.

"Dapat po lahat ng nakakaranas ng epekto ng El Niño ay dapat magreport sa ating mga MAO para makasama po sa amin damage report and isubmit din po yan for rehabilitation (Everyone who experiences the effects of El Niño should report to our MAOs so that they can be included in the damage report and also we will submit it for rehabilitation program)," she said.

Guarin said the agency already provided interventions to different farmers' cooperative associations (FCAs) in the region.

"We have provided 37 solar-powered irrigation systems and service water pumps to FCAs with the help of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to help our farmers cope with the negative effects of El Niño. In terms of the rice program, through farm clustering, we are helping on communal irrigation systems for farmers who cultivate rice fields with less than 1,000 hectares," she added.

Guarin said farmers registered with the online Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) have free crop insurance.

"If insured with Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), there is indemnification. The farmers can also be given rice or vegetable seeds that can be planted in May or June depending on the rainfall," she said.

PCIC is a state-owned agricultural insurer committed to developing and implementing insurance programs highly responsive to the needs of small farmers, fisherfolk and other agricultural stakeholders.

Based on a validated report and ongoing consolidation of DA-Bicol, 730 farmers from Masbate province with 1,120 hectares of farmland have suffered PHP70,605,000 worth of damaged crops due to the dry spell.

On Jan. 19, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed Executive Order (EO) No. 53 to streamline, reactivate and reconstitute the old El Niño task forces under EO No. 16 (s. 2001) and Memorandum Order No. 38 (s. 2019).

Under EO No. 53, the President instructed the task force to develop a comprehensive disaster preparedness and rehabilitation plan for El Niño and La Niña to provide “systematic, holistic, and results-driven interventions” to help the public cope and minimize their devastating effects. (PNA)