DA preparing to mitigate El Nino effect
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is preparing to ease the effects of El Nino which may affect 25 provinces by the third quarter.
Assistant Agriculture Secretary Arnel de Mesa said the issuance of El Nino Watch by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) last month is part of the government's preparation for the phenomenon.
"Based on the forecast of Pagasa, there are 25 provinces that may be affected by El Nino beginning the third quarter up to 2024," he said.
El Nino is known to cause drought.
De Mesa said the DA also reactivated the El Nino task force to address its effect in the country.
"The Task Force chaired by Senior Undersecretary (Domingo) Panganiban together with other agencies and technical agencies of the Department of Agriculture will be prepared to help all the aspects from irrigation up to crop stages, to make sure that the activities and funds is enough to address the upcoming El Nino," said De Mesa.
De Mesa said the government has allocated more than P750 billion for small-scale irrigation projects which includes augmentation pumps, small-scale irrigation projects, solar irrigation projects and others.
He said the DA is also considering the use of drought-resistant varieties of grains, adjusting the planting calendar and alternate wetting and drying methods to save water.
"We know that rice normally uses a lot of water. So, another way is what we called the alternate wetting and drying technique. Aside from rice, there are other commodities that are tolerant to drought that we can plant," he added.
De Mesa said the DA will also ensure that there is enough buffer stock for seeds and the budget is in place especially in areas that will be affected by El Nino.
The department will also prepare for possible cloud seeding operations in areas that may hardly hit by the drought. Robina Asido/DMS