DA-CAR Allocates P31 Million in Aid to Support El Niño-Impacted Farmers in Cordillera

CORDILLERA ADMINISTRATIVE REGION — The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR) has allocated approximately PHP31 million in supplies to support farmers impacted by the El Niño weather phenomenon. The initiative is part of an effort to mitigate the adverse effects of the dry spell on agricultural productivity in the region.

According to Philippines News Agency, head of the DA-CAR Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Service, the funds represent the initial consolidated aid from the department’s banner programs targeting rice, corn, and high-value crop sectors. Pagtan, speaking at the Farmers Cooperatives and Associations training event on Tuesday, outlined the specifics of the assistance: 4,492 units of high-density polyethylene hose, 32 pump and engine sets for rice areas, 12 open-source pumping sets for corn fields, 54 water pumps and engine sets for high-value commercial crops, and five solar-powered irrigation units specifically for corn fields. Additionally, DA-CAR has distributed 89,750 doses of medications and animal vaccines to address the needs of livestock affected by dried-up grazing lands.

The aid distribution is part of a broader strategy prepared after the Regional Inter-Agency Task Group El Niño conducted site validations, assessments, and monitoring in June of the previous year. These activities identified areas vulnerable to drought and helped prioritize irrigation projects slated for 2024. In a related effort, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also mentioned its ongoing support for affected farmers through the Tulong Pangkabuhayan para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) emergency employment program, though the PHP1.4 billion TUPAD fund for 2024 is not specifically earmarked for El Niño assistance.

As of April 22, the damage to agriculture in the region has been extensive, with corn suffering the most at PHP521.79 million, followed by rice at PHP130.40 million, and high-value crops at PHP1.56 million. In total, approximately 35,824.90 metric tons of these crops have been damaged, affecting 11,671 farmers across the six provinces of the region.