DA-Bicol expects mild El Niño in September

NAGA CITY(PNA) -- With farmlands still reeling from the destruction of typhoon "Glenda" that destroyed almost PHP 4-billion worth of crops and infrastructure, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Bicol anticipates the coming of a mild El Niño in September.

DA OIC-Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas said Wednesday that the agriculture agency is focusing its preparation on mitigating the weather phenomenon that brings dry spell in Camarines Sur.

“Camarines Sur has the widest area of rice farms in the region that is composed of about 80,000 hectares out of the regional total of 160,000 hectares,” Bragas said.

He said the effect of El Niño on rice crop is the decline of yield should it strike when the plant is in fruiting stage due to lack of water.

Bragas said one of the mitigation measures the DA will implement is the provision of shallow-tube wells to augment the anticipated shortage of irrigation water.

But, he said, how to fast-track the mitigation measures will be a challenge because the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) responsible to provide irrigation to rice farms now belongs to a different agency.

The NIA, Philippine Coconut Authority, National Food Authority, and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority have been transferred to the Office of Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agriculture Modernization headed by former Senator Francis Pangilinan.

“The problem here is that there will be no continuity on intervention,” Bragas quipped.

Bragas is optimistic that the effect of the El Niño on rice crop could still be recovered in December if the farmers plant in September. (PNA)

John Mark Escandor


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