El Niño Ravages Farmland in Zamboanga City, Causing Nearly P4 Million in Damage

El Niño

The relentless dry spell attributed to El Niño has inflicted significant damage to agricultural lands in Zamboanga City, with losses estimated at nearly P4 million as of March 15, 2024. The adverse effects of the intense heat have devastated rice and corn fields, vegetable crops, and seaweed farms, affecting numerous farmers and fisherfolk in the region. Here are some details according to GMA Regional TV News.

Extent of Damage

The scorching temperatures ravaged approximately 96.4 hectares of farmland, impacting the livelihoods of 201 individuals reliant on agriculture and fisheries. Despite concerted efforts to mitigate the impact, the agricultural sector continues to bear the brunt of El Niño’s wrath. This exacerbates existing challenges faced by farmers and fisherfolk.

In response to the impending threat posed by El Niño, the Zamboanga City government proactively established the Task Force El Niño in March 2023. This action followed advisories from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). Local stakeholders organized information caravans across six agricultural districts, disseminating crucial insights and preparedness measures.

To alleviate the impact of the dry spell, the city government allocated approximately P4.5 million for interventions as early as July 2023. These initiatives encompassed various support mechanisms aimed at bolstering agricultural resilience. They include the drilling of deep wells and the acquisition of water pumps. The government earmarked an additional P30.5 million to expand these efforts, with a focus on areas facing acute water scarcity.

Mitigation Strategies

Identified areas in Vitali, Manicahan, Curuan, Culianan, Ayala, and Tumaga Districts are slated for the drilling of deep wells. This initiative aims to augment water sources for irrigation and sustenance. Additionally, 127 water pumps will be distributed to facilitate water access in regions grappling with dwindling supplies. This underscores the government’s commitment to addressing the evolving challenges posed by El Niño.

As Zamboanga City grapples with the repercussions of El Niño, concerted efforts by the local government and stakeholders are crucial. These efforts aim to mitigate the impact on vulnerable agricultural communities. The proactive measures implemented thus far underscore a commitment to safeguarding livelihoods and fostering resilience amidst adverse climatic conditions. Despite the daunting challenges ahead, ongoing initiatives offer hope for sustainable recovery and adaptation in the face of environmental adversity.

Read Also: PAGASA Issues Warning of Drought in 17 Philippine Provinces Post-January


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