Assistance for El Niño-Affected Farmers and Fishers in the Philippines

A farmers walks fast at the drought rice field in Baliuag, Bulacan as summer start last week.PHOTO BY: RENE H. DILAN
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The Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Philippines has announced that the national government will extend credit and insurance assistance to farmers and fishers who have been adversely affected by the El Niño phenomenon. This move aims to support these individuals in coping with the dry spell caused by the weather pattern.

According to Assistant Secretary Arnel De Mesa, the spokesperson for the DA, a credit assistance amounting to at least P500 million will be made available to farmers and fishers. This financial aid will enable them to mitigate the impact of the El Niño phenomenon on their livelihoods. Additionally, an estimated P1.8 billion in insurance claims will be distributed to those who have been affected.

To ensure that the assistance reaches those who need it the most, each affected farmer and fisher will be eligible to receive a credit assistance of at least P25,000. Furthermore, a maximum insurance claim of P20,000 may be granted to cover losses incurred due to the El Niño phenomenon.

In addition to the credit and insurance assistance, the DA is also taking steps to provide further financial support to the agricultural community. Under the national budget, the department is preparing to distribute P5,000 in financial assistance to rice farmers. This aid will help alleviate some of the financial burdens they are facing. Furthermore, a fuel subsidy of P3,000 will be provided to both farmers and fishers.

The impact of the El Niño phenomenon on the agricultural sector has been significant. As of February 25, 2024, the estimated damage to agriculture was reported to be around P357.4 million. The regions most affected by the dry spell include Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), Western Visayas, and Zamboanga Peninsula. These areas have experienced substantial losses in their farming and fishing industries, impacting the livelihoods of approximately 7,668 farmers.

The provision of credit and insurance assistance by the national government is a crucial step in helping farmers and fishers recover from the effects of the El Niño phenomenon. By providing financial support, the government aims to minimize the long-term impact on the agricultural sector and ensure the sustainability of these vital industries.

It is important to note that the El Niño phenomenon is a global weather pattern that affects various countries differently. In the Philippines, the DA has recognized the need to address the specific challenges faced by farmers and fishers in the country. By tailoring assistance programs to the local context, the government can better support those who rely on agriculture and fishing as their primary source of income.

In conclusion, the national government of the Philippines is taking proactive measures to assist farmers and fishers affected by the El Niño phenomenon. Through credit and insurance assistance, as well as financial aid programs, the government aims to alleviate the financial burdens faced by those in the agricultural sector. By providing this support, the government hopes to enable farmers and fishers to recover and continue their vital contributions to the country’s food security and economy.

Source: The Manila Times

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