TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, (PIA) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has mapped out its el nino mitigation measures by alloting a Php260-million worth of budgetary support for Eastern Visayas in case el nino phenomenon will hit the region in the coming months.

During the Panginsayod ha PIA held today, regional director Leo P. Caneda of the Department of Agriculture (DA) informed that said budget will be used in the agriculture sector.

Of the said figure, Php160 million will be allotted to DA’s production support services in preparation for the buffer stocking of seeds to be distributed until February next year while the remaining Php99 million will be used for small-scale irrigation support as irrigated areas are likely to be affected by the impending dry spell.

Region 8 has a total planting rice areas of 169, 000 hectares and only 75, 000 hectares or 57% of this is irrigated.

Caneda said of the 103, 000 standing crops in the region, 43, 000 or 40% are considered vulnerable areas of which productivity will be affected.

If el nino will hit the region, four to five percent of the total volume of rice production will be possibly lost to el nino.

As forecasted by the Philippine Geographical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the whole region will most likely be affected by el nino.

Reports have indicated that region 8 will be hit by the dry spell from the month of September 2015 until May 2016 but most severe in February next year.(ajc/cba/PIA-8)