DA-CAR gives P31-M aid to El Niño-affected farmers

BAGUIO: The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR) has distributed about PHP31 million worth of supplies to El Niño-affected farmers. Aida Pagtan, head of the DA-CAR Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Service, said the assistance is the initial consolidated aid from banner programs on rice, corn and high-value crops. "We are doing our best to assist the farmers that is why as early as last year, some of the banner program interventions have been aligned to provide support to farmers whose areas have been initially identified to be hit by the dry spell," Pagtan said on the sidelines of the first day of the Farmers Cooperatives and Associations training here on Tuesday. Specifically, the farmers received 4,492 units of high-density polyethylene hose, 32 units of pumps and engine sets for rice areas, 12 units of open-source pumping sets for corn areas, 54 units of water pumps and engine sets for high-value commercial crops, and five solar-powered irrigation units for c orn fields. DA-CAR also provided 89,750 doses of medications and animal vaccines since animals are also affected by the dry spell due to dried-up grazing lands. Pagtan said the interventions were prepared following the identification, site validation, assessment, and monitoring activities in vulnerable areas by the Regional Inter-Agency Task Group El Niño in June last year. Such was also the basis for the identification of the areas at risk of drought for the delivery prioritization of the 2024 irrigation projects by DA-CAR. In a separate press conference, the Department of Labor and Employment said it continues to assist affected farmers through the emergency employment program Tulong Pangkabuhayan para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD). The DOLE-CAR has a PHP1.4 billion TUPAD fund for 2024 which, however, is not specific for El Niño assistance. As of April 22, corn recorded the biggest damage at PHP521.79, million followed by rice at PHP130.40 million, and high-value crops at PHP1.56 mi llion. About 35,824.90 metric tons of rice, corn and high-value crops have been damaged, affecting 11,671 farmers in the six provinces of the region. Source: Philippines News Agency