“Farmers Eat Rats, Trade Tails for Rice as El Nino Drought Begins”
Bloomberg Businessweek, May 14, 2015
“Farmer Juanito Masangkay heads out to the fields at night with a flashlight and a bow and arrow to get food for his wife and seven children. By hunting rats. Masangkay and other Philippine farmers are some of the first to suffer the effects of this year’s El Nino, a weather event that alters climate patterns around the globe. A drought since February has forced him to look for alternative sources of food. The government gives him rice for the tails as part of a program to curb vermin that damage crops; the rats he eats. … Climatologists have been predicting the return of El Nino for years and finally agreed this month that it’s back. There hasn’t been a severe El Nino since the 1997-98 event, which killed 24,000 people and caused $34 billion in economic losses, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. … More than half the provinces in the Philippines are already suffering from a dry spell. That may undermine the Philippine government’s efforts to reduce inflation…. The central bank on Thursday raised its consumer-price forecasts for this year and next, citing El Nino and a weaker peso. Three out of 10 Filipino workers depend on agriculture for their livelihood, and the government is trying to minimize the impact of El Nino. It is fast tracking irrigation projects, building systems to collect rainwater and seeding clouds.”
Quickie analysis: The leading edge of what will become a major global inconvenience, or worse.