el nino

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Apr 2 – The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office-8 (DA RFO-8) urges all farmers in Eastern Visayas to prepare and be observant as the nation is currently experiencing mild El Niño as cited by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

El Niño happens when there is an unusual warm surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean accompanied by below average or abnormal rainfall. A warmer air temperature will be felt in varying degrees throughout the country.

Based on PAGASA’s data on climate, the Eastern Visayas region will experience two types of climate which are characterized by evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year with no dry season and maximum monthly rainfall from March to May.

Moreover, rice farmers in Leyte are highly vulnerable to the effects of El Niño, Northern Samar and Samar areas are moderately susceptible while Biliran and Eastern Samar are slightly at risk. On the other hand, corn farmers in Leyte and Biliran will most likely be faced with the impact of El Niño, unlike in the provinces of Southern Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.

DA-8 is now taking precautionary measures to prevent possible damages in the agriculture sector of the region due to the occurrence of the El Niño phenomenon.

The agency is promoting the use of drought tolerant rice varieties such as the green super rice and also advocates crop conversion or diversification in rice areas that lack water supply. Farmers are encouraged to plant vegetables, corn or other commodities that only require minimal amount of water.

DA-8 through the Rice Program will also fast track the completion of Small Scale Irrigation Projects (SSIPs) which started in 2014 and continue to put in place more SSIPs to attain higher production outputs. The program likewise put emphasis on the use of water saving techniques or technologies.

In addition, rice ratooning is being pushed as an appropriate technology to attain extra yield from standing rice crops of high quality seeds. Meantime, livestock raisers are also enjoined to ensure sufficient feeds and appropriate housing for the animals they are tending. (DA-8)