THE country’s growth slowed a bit in the first semester of 2019 because of the effects of El Niño, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said on Wednesday.
NEDA Undersecretary Adoracion Navarro said the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dipped by 0.21 percentage point because of the drought and dry spell that hit several provinces.
“The impact of El Niño on GDP, based on the estimate of NEDA, we will have a reduction in the first semester of 2019 growth of around 0.21 percentage points. This is the estimate,” Navarro said.
“With respect to El Nino, we are implementing interventions and we are finding sources for those which are not funded right now in the agency’s regular budgets.
“If we can really implement these interventions, we are confident that we will be within the 6- to 7-percent GDP growth range,” she added.
El Niño also greatly affected staple food, high value crops, fishes and livestock, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
DA Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan told reporters that the rice sector suffered P40.4 million in production losses across 144,202 hectares.
The value of corn also took a massive hit at P3.89 billion across 133.07 hectares.
Cash crops, or assorted vegetables, were also affected, as well as fruits like lansones, rambutan, watermelon and pineapple.
Fisheries in Ilocos Norte, La Union, Zamboanga, Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental also took a hit.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration Deputy Administrator Flaviana Hilario said there was a chance that the El Niño phenomenon would be felt until the end of the year.
Hilario said in April, 41 provinces were under drought condition and 23 provinces were under a dry spell. These numbers went down to 40 and 6, respectively, in May.