Friday, February 19, 2010

El Nino hurting drought-struck Philippine farms

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: The Philippines said Thursday that its farming industry could lose about 433 million dollars this year due a drought caused by the El Nino atmospheric phenomenon. The damage estimates range from eight to 20 billion pesos (173 to 433 million dollars), depending on whether El Nino will cause a prolonged dry spell or a short one, said agricultural undersecretary Joel Rudinas.

Local governments have already reported that as much as a billion pesos in rice and about 1.4 billion pesos in corn may have been lost due to the drought that is scorching farms across the Southeast Asian archipelago, he said. "We are still evaluating if the crops cannot be saved or if the yield will just be lower," he told AFP.

El Nino is an occasional seasonal warming of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean that upsets normal weather patterns from the western seaboard of Latin America to east Africa, and has caused droughts in the Philippines before.

The government is trying to alleviate the effects of the drought by helping farmers switch to crops that are less dependent on water than rice, such as vegetables and fruits….

A farm on Negros, in the Philippines, shot by Jesse Gardner, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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