DA should prepare release of P1-B quick response fund amid dry spell —solon

Posted by watchmen
April 12, 2024


The Department of Agriculture (DA) should stand ready to disburse the P1-billion Quick Response Fund (QRF) provided under the national budget amid the drought affecting various provinces, Agri party-list lawmaker Wilbert Lee said yesterday.

Lee issued the statement in the aftermath of a state of calamity being declared in Negros Occidental’s San Enrique town, following weeks of rising temperatures, dry weather conditions and lack of rainfall.

At least 20 local government units had earlier declared a state of calamity due to the impact of El Niño.

“We should expect more areas to be placed under a state of calamity amid the massive drought, and the DA should ensure that it is ready to release the QRF needed to the regional office if need be, so the relief to our farmers would be immediate,” Lee said.

“Patuloy na mahihirapan ang mga magsasaka sa kanilang produksyon hangga’t hindi sapat ang irigasyon. Dapat proactive tayo at hindi reactive dahil buhay at hanapbuhay ang nakataya dito,” Lee added.

Lee said that 90 percent of San Enrique’s rice fields have already dried up, and farmers couldn’t start replanting due to the unfavorable weather conditions.

San Enrique’s population is around 26,000 people and is one of the top rice-producing towns in Negros Occidental.

In addition, a large chunk of the town’s 2,884.75-hectare land area are rice farms.

Lee also called on state weather bureau Pagasa to coordinate for possible cloud-seeding operations over major farm areas in the country.

He said that the DA should be prepared to conduct cloud-seeding operations in drought-hit areas, as it did in Cagayan Valley in February, when Piper Navajo flyers scattered 33 sacks of sodium chloride over clouds 4,500 feet above the ground in targeted areas.

It brought light to moderate rains in some parts of the Cagayan region.

“We should replicate this for the areas hardest hit by the El Niño,” Lee said. (GMA Integrated News)

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