No cash aid yet for CV farmers as El Niño damage reaches P1.7B

No cash aid yet for CV farmers
as El Niño damage reaches P1.7B
File photo

THERE was no financial assistance yet for farmers in Central Visayas who were affected by the El Niño phenomenon’s damage, which reached P1.7 billion.

Department of Agriculture 7 officer-in-charge Cirilo Namoc, during the “Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas” program held in a hotel in Cebu City on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, explained, “For now, wala tay cash assistance nga naka-ready (For now, no cash assistance is ready).”

As of May 15, DA’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) reported that El Niño has affected 99,473 farmers and fisherfolk in Central Visayas, while 19,483.6 hectares of agricultural land were devastated.

Based on the DA report, Cebu Province incurred the highest amount of damage in the region with P824,557,921.82, followed by Bohol with P261,846,710.82, Negros Oriental with P61,539,565.32, and Siquijor with P28,085,833.

Namoc explained that the El Niño cash assistance is only extended to affected farmers if the impact is severe.

“I’m sure kon pananglitan grabe kaayo ang epekto, magpagawas ra na ang central office og support sa atong mga farmers kung pananglitan ilang makita nga grabe na gyud, so special time na siya (I’m sure if, for example, the impact is very severe, the central office will release support to our farmers if, for example, they see that it is very severe, so it’s a special time),” said Namoc.

However, Namoc stressed that the agency has a calamity fund for areas affected by El Niño.

“But sa ato-a sa regular fund wala ta, naa lang tay calamity fund intended para sa mga affected nga areas, unya naa ni siyay specific guidelines para dili ma abuso ang paggamit ani (But in our regular fund, we don’t have any, we only have a calamity fund intended for the affected areas, then it has specific guidelines so that it will not be abused),” said Namoc.

Moreover, he said that the agency is currently conducting an evaluation of its agricultural input assistance for farmers. Qualified beneficiaries will receive seeds and fertilizers from the DA.

“Our evaluation is based on the fact that what we can give will not be wasted,” added Namoc.

Damage

In an ambush interview with DA 7 Development Management Officer Gerry Avila on Tuesday, he explained that the initial data reported by the DRRM is an accumulated report from local government units across the region and is still subject to validation in the central office.

The bulk of the damage was reported in high-value crops with P1,518,569,282, followed by rice with P139,188,091 worth of damage, corn-P105,466,247, and livestock-P1,205,000, the DRRM data showed.

For rice damage, Bohol topped the list with P85 million, followed by Negros Oriental with P21 million, Cebu with P4 million, and Siquijor with P2.9 million.

For corn, Negros Oriental reported P4 million worth of damage, Cebu with P1.8 million, and Bohol with P334,000.

In the region, the total agricultural land area is 524,889 hectares, while the total number of registered farmers is 593,513, according to Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture data.

Affected farmers, fisherfolk, and farm laborers who want to avail of the government assistance program need to register with the DA’s Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

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