200 Zamboanga Peninsula farmers ‘severely affected’ by El Niño

ZAMBOANGA CITY (PIA) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) regional office has confirmed that approximately 200 farmers in Zamboanga Peninsula are severely affected by the impact of the El Niño phenomenon.

The agriculture department said the region has incurred an estimated P3.8 million in damage to agriculture. This includes significant losses among fisherfolk, particularly seaweed farmers in the region.

The City of Zamboanga has declared a state of calamity due to severe dry weather, with the Department of Agriculture reporting potential damage of up to P26 million across the entire Zamboanga Peninsula due to the El Niño phenomenon.

Zaida Salim, focal person for disaster risk reduction and management of DA-9,  has highlighted innovative strategies to mitigate the impact of the dry spell on the agriculture industry during the PIA Kapihan na Zamboanga at SM City Mindpro on April 24. These strategies include providing information and promoting practices that minimize water usage while sustaining crop growth.

“We have advised farmers to postpone planting until water supply is more abundant,” Salim stated regarding water scarcity concerns.

Additionally, she emphasized the importance of shifting from vulnerable crops like corn to more drought-resistant vegetables during the dry season.

Zaida Salim, focal person for disaster risk reduction and management of DA-9 during the PIA Kapihan na Zamboanga at SM City Mindpro on April 24.

She also stressed the significance of financial assistance and agricultural insurance for affected farmers.

The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation is mandated to provide insurance protection, particularly for subsistence farmers, against crop and non-crop losses due to disasters.

Moreover, DA, in collaboration with the Climate Resilience Office, is conducting extensive training and information campaigns in barangays and municipalities to educate farmers on mitigating the effects of El Niño.

“We urge local farmers to promptly report any signs of drought in their fields to their barangay’s agricultural extension workers,” said Salim, emphasizing that addressing these concerns promptly could reduce the number of affected farmers and facilitate financial assistance from organizations like the Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Social Welfare and Development. (KSA/EDT/MLE/DBE/PIA9-Zamboanga City)

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