By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Department of Agriculture has received orders to prepare for a dry spell as a result of El Niño. According to AccuWeather, El Niño is a climate pattern that raises sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Such a system can contribute to drought conditions due to reduced rainfall.
During a radio interview with RMN DYHB-Bacolod, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said, despite meteorologists predicting El Niño to end in April or May, Negros Occidental, Mindoro, and Palawan could still experience dry conditions until at least November of this year.
He said a dry spell is already affecting farmers in Negros Occidental.
The provincial government, meanwhile, has already implemented El Niño mitigation measures with Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. indicating they have already requested the department to conduct cloud seeding operations in the province.
According to the cabinet official added, funds have already been allocated for cloud seeding in the province.
A statement released by the Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas earlier this week claimed weak El Niño conditions are expected throughout the rest of March.
“We are experiencing weak El Niño, particularly in southern Iloilo and Antique,” stated field operations division chief Rene B. Famoso.
However, he noted, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) offered an extended forecast.
“Based on the recent forecast of PAGASA, it may last up to June,” Famoso added./DGB, WDJ