The Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Wednesday it has set aside a total of P5.08 billion from 2015 up to the second half of 2016 to help farmers cope with the drought caused by El Niño.
Data from the DA showed that the agency used P2.78 billion to bankroll El Niño interventions last year. The DA has also set aside nearly P2.3 billion for El Niño mitigation from January to June.
About P3.86 billion of the DA’s total expenses came from its regular funds, while P451.65 million was sourced from its quick-response fund.
The DA is seeking P769.8 million from the national government. The amount was endorsed by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to the Office of the President on April 19.
The agency said the amount will be used to provide seeds and farm inputs to El Niño-affected farmers and to conduct cloud-seeding operations.
Data from the DA showed El Niño and pests destroyed a total of 565,752 metric tons (MT), valued at P8.02 billion in the first four months of the year.
From January 1 to April 15, data from the DA showed that El Niño alone damaged 516,099 MT of crops, valued at P6.35 billion. The DA said 183,201 farmers cultivating 194,494.48 hectares of land were affected by the prolonged dry spell.
The three regions that suffered the brunt of El Niño were Region 10 in Mindanao, which recorded losses amounting to P2.46 billion; Western Visayas or Region 6, P1.97 billion; and Region 12, P737.36 million.
Since February 2015, farmers have already incurred losses totaling P9.78 billion due to El Niño.