At least one million workers in the agricultural sector stand to lose their jobs in the coming months as an intense El Niño threatens to lay waste large tracts of agricultural lands in several provinces, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) warned.
The TUCP, the country’s biggest labor group, urged the government to immediately institute mitigation plans, including provision of livelihood assistance to farmers and other agricultural workers who will be adversely affected by El Nino, a prolonged dry spell.
“We urge the government, from the national down to the local government units, to include in its mitigation plans those workers in the agriculture sector who may be rendered jobless due to the intense weather phenomenon. These types of workers suffer double whammy because not only will they lose their livelihood and income, they also suffer as consumers,” the TUCP said.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) secretary-general and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan blamed the onset of the El Nino phenomenon for causing an uptick in unemployment in the sector.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said 58 percent of the country are experiencing effects of El Nino and could increase to 85 percent in February 2016.
Last July, around 755,000 workers in the agricultural sector were reported jobless because of the El Nino phenomenon, according to data provided by the BAS and the PSA.
So, if El Nino will continue in the next six months, the 1 million workers in the agricultural sector losing their jobs is evidently bad news for the economy.