Farmers and fisherfolk demand El Niño aid and support from DA and NFA

This article is available in Pilipino

Groups of farmers and fisherfolk staged a picket before the offices of the National Food Authority (NFA) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Quezon City yesterday, April 3. They denounced the two agencies of the Marcos regime for their negligence and incompetence in providing support for farmers and fisherfolk facing a disaster amid the El Niño.

The agency’s latest records indicate the drought has already damaged 34,264 hectares of rice fields. The total cost of the damage is ₱2.76 billion. The climate phenomenon has already severely affected 10 of 16 regions in the country.

Led by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Amihan Peasant Women, and the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya (Pamalakaya), farmers called on the DA-NFA to immediately distribute the old rice stocks in NFA warehouses to the farmers and fishermen affected by drought.

“Unload the remaining stock of NFA rice from the warehouses and distribute it as relief to the hungry farmers and fishermen who are victims of the drought,” said Cathy Estavillo, general secretary of Amihan and spokesperson of Bantay Bigas. She said that rice can help provide food to farmers suffering losses.

Apart from this, the KMP denounced the government’s incompetence over its failure to provide compensation and assistance to farmers. “When will the government give aid, when El Niño is over? When La Niña comes bringing floods, farmers will definitely be without income, and would have starved for the whole year” said Ka Danilo Ramos, chairman of KMP.

The group says the incompetence of the Marcos Jr. government and Task Force El Niño to the effect of El Niño that started in 2023 is obvious. “Farmers and fishermen who have suffered from El Niño have received no help, and then get ridiculous suggestions such as not wearing underwear at home, not flushing toilets and so on,” they said.

The groups say they will continue to demand for support and aid for farmers and fishermen amid the disaster of El Niño. “We encourage local farmers and fishermen associations to collectively demand aid from municipal agricultural agencies, local governments and local DA and NFA offices.”

AB: Farmers and fisherfolk demand El Niño aid and support from DA and NFA