DA allots P161.6-M aid to 32K rice farmers in Negros Oriental

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allotted more than PHP161.6 million in cash assistance to 32,337 rice farmers in Negros Oriental in anticipation of the adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon next year. Alejandro Rafal, DA-Negros Oriental Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer, told the Philippine News Agency on Monday that the amount is part of the PHP600-million funds already downloaded to the regional office for the use in Central Visayas provinces. Each farmer will receive PHP5,000,he said, but added they have yet to decide on the date and the mode of distribution to the farmers in the province. 'The cash assistance of PHP 5,000 for each farmer is one of the many government interventions to ensure that their livelihood and source of income would not be impacted by the onset of the El Niño,' Rafal said. Meanwhile, Rafal said at least PHP50-million worth of hybrid seeds, in-bred seeds, and fertilizers had already been distributed for free to rice farmers in 22 towns and cities in Negros Ori ental since September 16. Only three non-rice producing areas, namely Bacong, Dauin, and San Jose towns, were not covered by the distribution, he said. The seeds were handed out for dry season planting from mid-September this year to mid-March next year, he said. Rafal also said that farm machinery units were also distributed through the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), although he did not mention how many were given. The El Niño is a climate phenomenon that could bring negative and sometimes extreme impacts such as dry spells and droughts or above-normal rainfall. Source: Philippines News Agency