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P22M assistance ready for El Niño-hit farmers

By Ernesto Delgado

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Agriculture (DA) has prepared P22 million worth of readily available assistance for farmers in the Bicol Region who have sustained production losses due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

In an interview over Ugnayan sa Bicol, DA Bicol spokesperson Lovella Guarin announced that assistance from the DA will be released to the local government units of the affected areas before the start of the next cropping season.

The assistance includes 13,500 bags of certified rice seeds, 1,650 bags of hybrid seeds, 300 bags of yellow corn seeds, 5,000 packets of assorted vegetable seeds, and fertilizers, she said.

“We also coordinated with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. to ensure payment of affected farmers’ insurance,” Guarin said.

Guarin said the DA has provided a list of farmers to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

“This will help in planning and programming interventions for the affected farm workers,” she said.

The DSWD and DOLE provide farmers with cash assistance, she added.

Guarin mentioned that these farmers have reported their production losses to the Municipal Agriculture Office in their respective localities.

According to a recent update from the DA on the effects of El Niño, the dry spell has caused a significant damage of nearly P353 million to rice harvests in the provinces of Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay and Camarines Sur, affecting a total of 9,283 rice farmers.

The highest amount of losses was reported in Masbate, where seven municipalities experienced damages reaching P191.1 million.

Guarin said the rice farms in these municipalities, mostly rain-fed, had been rendered unproductive.

Losses in vegetable farms, fisheries, high-value crops, livestock and poultry were still being assessed by agriculture technicians, she said. (PIA 5)


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