El Niño’s effects on farmers’ livelihoods must be planned for
According to reports, El Niño phenomenon or drought is set to hit the country in the second half of 2023 beginning this June. The biggest damage that this will bring would surely be shouldered by the peasantry and the agricultural sector. The last time that the country experienced extreme drought, the agricultural damages reached P400 billion. In this vein, the peasantry calls for immediate action by the government to provide a comprehensive plan to combat this. Sufficient support for local agriculture and small farmers and farmworkers must be ensured.
While calling out the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the US-Marcos regime to heed their obligations, farmer organizations and the people must also unite and mobilize. History has proven that support from the inept government are often late or lacking, or worse does not come at all. The people can only therefore rely on their own strength, initiative and unity.
Revolutionary mass organizations in Bikol and the country must lead in the immediate planning and execution of steps to prepare for the drought. Various levels of peasant organizations, mutual-aid groups and cooperatives must be encouraged to mobilize for their own good. A stronger coordination amongst them is vital in addressing the threat of water shortage. They can plan for community irrigations and other concrete steps that will ensure that farmers’ livelihoods withstand the coming disaster.
Alongside this, local revolutionary organizations must also lead in ensuring that communities have adequate food caches such as rice, corn and vegetables. Widespread starvation brought by the drought must be anticipated especially since more than half of the agricultural lands in the region are expected to be affected.
This comprehensive plan: clamor for government agencies’ coordinated action regarding the matter and, on the other hand, reliance on their own unity and strength, would make sure that the peasant masses and the whole nation is ready for El Niño.