Gov’t outlines El Niño action plan for agriculture sector PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 September 2015 14:35

Dispelling public fears on an impending severe drought, Malacanang said, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has a comprehensive El Nino response plan in case the weather disturbance affects the country.

In a radio interview, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said the DA’s El Niño action plan has two features: production support and water management.

The plan also includes an information and communication program or information education program, Coloma told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

The plan has two objectives: maximizing and optimizing production in non-threatened areas, and saving vulnerable areas through appropriate irrigation intervention or crop shifting using short gestation crops.

Because not all agriculture areas will be hit by El Niño, the DA will concentrate on enhancing production in non-affected areas.

For areas that will be affected, the DA will irrigate the fields and encourage farmers to plant short gestation crops for them to immediately harvest.

As soon as El Nino is over, the DA will rehabilitate vulnerable areas for future use.

For water management, the DA, in coordination with the Philippine Air Force will conduct cloud-seeding operations.

“‘Yung ‘intensified implementation of alternate wetting and drying, ito ang mga istratehiya nila sa water management,” he told Radyo ng Bayan.

“Mayroon ding provision of open source pumps at installation of solar and wind pump irrigation systems for high-value crops. Kaya mayroon ding mga alternatibong irrigation systems, hindi lang mga water-based.”

Also part of El Niño mitigation efforts is the distribution of high-quality seeds for rice and corn farmers.

They will also be supplied with mungbean, peanut, soybean, sweet potato and cucurbits as alternate crops.

“Pag-iibayuhin din ang pest surveillance and monitoring at magpro-provide din ng soil ameliorant,” Coloma said noting that the initiative also covers livestocks and fisheries.

The DA will provide livestock buffer feed stocking, as well as veterinary drugs, and will advise growers to plant drought-resistant forage for animal feed.

For the fishery sector, the DA will dispense fingerlings to replenish the projected production losses.

El Niño is expected to hit the country in the third quarter of this year until the first few months of next year.