DA to provide agri inputs in El Niño-affected areas

Posted by watchmen
March 4, 2024


The Department of Agriculture (DA) will distribute vegetable seeds in Western Visayas and Ilocos Regions as well as planting materials for high-value crops that require less water in the Zamboanga Peninsula to help farmers recover from the damage and losses due to the dry spell stoked by El Niño.

The DA, in collaboration with relevant agencies like the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration and Department of National Defense-Philippine Air Force, will also start cloud-seeding operations to ease water shortages in Region 2.

Promotion of drought-resistant crops and pest-control efforts are also underway to assist farmers in areas suffering from low rainfall levels.

The latest El Niño bulletin estimates damage and losses to farms in Ilocos Region, Mimaropa, Western Visayas, and Zamboanga Peninsula at P357.4 million, with 7,668 farmers affected.

Potential production losses from 6,523 hectares affected by the dry spell are estimated at 11,480 metric tons (MT) for palay, 2,897 MT for corn, and 225 MT for high value crops.

The affected rice area of 5,011 hectares is 0.52 percent of the total target area planted, while the production loss of 11,480 MT is around 0.12 percent of the target dry cropping season output for 2024.

As for corn, the area affected by the dry spell is at 1,263 hectares or 0.11 percent of the total target area planted, while the production loss of 2,897 MT is 0.06 percent of target production for the 2024 dry cropping season.

The DA continuously adopts the alternate wetting-and-drying method that has reduced water consumption in rice fields.

The agency is also considering the use of solar-powered irrigation systems to augment water supply in areas vulnerable to drought.

As for rainfed areas, DA is also evaluating the use of shallow tube wells.

In addition, Regional Field Offices’ initiatives include advisories encouraging farmers to adopt synchronous planting to avoid the occurrence of pests and diseases due to delayed planting, as well as using affected crops as forage to feed livestock.

The agency will also endorse affected farmers to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Labor and Employment for other forms of assistance, including financial support.

The DA-Operations Center will continuously provide updates regarding the effects of El Niño. (PIA)

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