Prepare for impact of El Nino – updates from the peasant movement of the Philippines

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the Department of Agriculture (DA) should lay down its El Nino mitigation effort to help ensure sufficient domestic rice production amid the looming water shortage due to El Nino phenomenon.

Higher temperatures resulting in hot, dry weather in Australia, Southeast Asia and India are expected to threaten food supply, further pushing food inflation.

KMP supported the demand of House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto to update the Roadmap to Address the Impact of El Nino (RAIN) that outlines the government’s response to the dry spell. The peasant group also reiterate Senator Grace Poe’s demand to address the water shortage.

El Niño is projected to affect the country in the second half of the year but below-normal rainfall levels are already imminent according to PAGASA. Early this month, water company Maynilad already warned its customers in the National Capital Region and Cavite of possible water interruptions for as long as 19 hours per day.

“We need effective and coordinated action from both national agencies and local government units to address the impending water shortage to be aggravated by the onset of El Niño. Agriculture and farming will be most affected by possible dry spells and drought,” according to KMP leader Danilo Ramos.

KMP also warned the Department of Agriculture not to use the impending effects of El Nino on palay production to further justify rice imports. Rice prices in the markets have increased in the past weeks due to high cost of production. ###

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Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP) was founded at a time of great political upheaval and broad mass movement against the tyranny and abuses of the Marcos dictatorship. Hundreds of peasant leaders and land reform advocates from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao gathered during the historic founding of KMP on July 24, 1985. After thirty five years, KMP remains as the largest national democratic mass organization of peasants in the Philippines.

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