Press Release
October 22, 2010


Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, today called for a review of the government's policies and programs on addressing the vulnerability of the agriculture and fisheries sector to the impact of climate change.

Legarda made the appeal after Typhoon Juan, which battered the northern part of Luzon, damaged an initial estimate of Php1.556 billion worth of crops, mostly corn and palay.

According to the Department of Agriculture, affected palay crops in Regions 2 and 3 reached 68,250 metric tons (MT) and 2,310 MT, respectively. Crop damage figures for Region 1 and damage reports for vegetable crops and fisheries are not yet available.

"Typhoon Juan damaged more than a billion worth of crops in Northern and Central Luzon. We have to know what steps would the government take regarding this problem. What are the alternatives so that these losses would not affect the country's food security? What assistance would the government give to our farmers and fishermen who were affected by this disaster?" Legarda said.

"We already know that changes in temperature, rainfall and sea level would be disastrous to the agricultural sector. In fact, crop yield potential is estimated to decline by 19% in Asia toward the end of the century and rice yield in the Philippines would decline by 75%. We have to ensure that we have the appropriate policies that would shield us from the destructive effects of climate change," she added.

Legarda, the Asia-Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, had already filed Senate Resolution 175, which seeks a review of the government's climate change adaptation policies for the agriculture and fisheries sector.

The Senator stressed that the inquiry is imperative to the institution of robust adaptation strategies that would enhance food security and alleviate rural poverty.

"The country's agricultural adaptation program must ensure more investments in agricultural research and infrastructure, improved water governance and land use policies, better forecasting tools and early warning systems, a strengthened extension system that will assist farmers to achieve economic diversification and access to credit to make significant improvements in our food security goals," Legarda said.

"We have to institute policy solutions to enable the agriculture sector to adapt rapidly to the impact of climate change and to safeguard poverty reduction gains in the rural areas," she concluded.

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