The Philippines must adopt more effective strategies to help build the agricultural sector’s resilience to climate change.
The study “Impacts of Natural Disasters on Agriculture, Food Security, and Natural Resources and Environment in the Philippines” shows that typhoons, floods, and droughts cause damage to increasingly larger areas of agricultural lands. From 2000 to 2010, agricultural areas affected by natural disasters increased in size from over 683,400 hectares in 2000, to more than 977,200 hectares in 2010, incurring damages totaling to P106.9 billion.
Agricultural areas were least affected in 2002 with 200,940 hectares damaged. However, more than 1,461,600 hectares of land was damaged in 2006. Rice, corn, vegetables, coconut, abaca, sugarcane, tobacco, fish and livestock were among the damaged commodities.
From 2000 to 2010, agricultural facilities likewise sustained losses valued at nearly P5 billion, while an estimated P9.7-billion worth of irrigation facilities were destroyed, the study added.
The study’s authors, Danilo Israel and Roehlano Briones, emphasized that the Philippines is vulnerable to “the inherent climate volatility within the region, as well as global climate change,” and urged the agriculture sector to develop site-specific goals and strategies that would strengthen the capability of national and local government institutions to adapt to climate change and improve their disaster risk reduction skills.