AS the Philippines braces for the effect of the El Niño phenomenon, farmers asked the government to start prepositioning aid and subsidies for farmers and fishers who are likely to be affected by the dry spell.
“It is high time for the Department of Agriculture to grant P15,000 production subsidies for farmers and fishers. Important support services including seeds, farm inputs, and implements are needed, to counter the increasing costs of production,” the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said in a statement.
The group warned that if the condition worsens, farmers may not be able to plant in the coming planting season due to lack of rainwater and irrigation.
“This could affect our agriculture and fisheries output, especially rice and vegetable yield. Fisheries and aquaculture output could also be lower than normal as fishes move and disperse into deeper parts of the water.”
The group issued the call as the country’s weather bureau raised the probability of El Nino to 80 percent, forecasting dry conditions in the country from June to August until the first quarter of 2024.
El Niño may also cause below-normal rainfall conditions, which could negatively affect local farming and agriculture. Dry spells and drought may also be experienced.
“Our past experiences have shown that El Niño and other adverse climate patterns may also result in lower agricultural output and even crop failures. Our only option now is how to mitigate the risks and impact of El Niño. Both the government and stakeholders should be prepared,” KMP’s Danilo Ramos said.
The group vowed to closely scrutinize the proposed El Niño mitigation efforts of the National Irrigation Administration and the newly created Water Resource Management Office.
Image credits: Suzanne June G. Perante