La Niña effects on agri seen to wane in coming months
Disruptions in Philippine agricultural and food production as well as displacement of people due to typhoons, heavy rains and floods are expected to abate within the next three months as the La Niña weather phenomenon begins to dissipate.
The latest bulletin from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), which is part of the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration system, forecasters anticipate in the February-April period a transition to “neutral”—when both La Niña and El Niño are absent.
“By the Northern Hemisphere spring (March-May 2023), the chance for neutral is 82 percent,” the CPC said.
Above average rainfall
In the Philippines, La Niña increases the likelihood of above-normal rainfall, which could lead to the destruction of crops and hamper production of other agricultural commodities.
Based on information from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 117,000 people in Mindanao are still displaced, mainly due to weather-related problems.
Of that number, 51,000 were driven away from their homes due to Severe Tropical Storm Paeng which wreaked havoc in October 2022 while 57,000 were displaced due to flooding brought by the shear line. The rest, about 9,000 people, were displaced due to conflict.
Also last year, destructive tropical cyclones like typhoon “Karding” wiped out about P3.2 billion worth of crops, livestock and other goods while “Paeng” destroyed P3.16 billion worth of the same.
Of the total value lost to Karding, P2 billion accounts for rice. Paeng destroyed P1.95 billion worth of the staple grain.
With such effects, adverse weather conditions have also derailed inflation forecasts by state economic managers.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) had initially expected the rate of increase in the prices of goods and services to reach a peak in October.
The Philippine Statistics Authority pegged inflation in October at 7.7 percent, but the monthly readout rose further to 8 percent in November and yet again to 8.1 percent in December.
BSP Governor Felipe Medalla earlier said the forecast of inflation peaking in October was thrown off because of bad weather.
“Just one typhoon would make us miss our mark,” Medalla said.