DA 6 submits P198-million proposed budget for El Nino contingency measures
by T. Villavert
Iloilo City (5 February) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA), Region 6 has submitted a proposed P198 million budget as contingency measures in preparation for the looming El Nino phenomenon.
This was disclosed by Director Larry P. Nacionales of the DA 6 during the PIA-Cable Television program where he emphasized that the region was the first region to submit the mitigation plan in order to readily offset the effects the said phenomenon on rice production this year.
El Nino refers to the unusual warming of sea surface temperatures, associated with extreme climatic variability. The El Nino warming episode brings drought to some areas in the world and floods to others.
Nacionales said that Western Visayas has a standing crop covering 176,000 hectares. The crop was planted November to December 2009, and are now under reproductive to maturity stage, so it is expected that the phenomenon will have little effects on the crop planted during said period.
The DA 6 Director said that of the 176,000 hectares, they have identified around 41,000 hectares vulnerable to the dry spell in Western Visayas.
These areas have been newly planted this quarter and the crops are still on their vegetative stage, Nacionales explained.
He said that their estimated losses at the identified 41, 000 hectares vulnerable areas will be around 125 metric tons, which he said could be recovered during the wet planting season.
While the dry spell may be harmful to rainfed and irrigated rice lands, it may also be favorable to other crops, Nacionales said as he cited opportunities for High Value Commercial Crops or vegetable/fruit crops, and mango production.
Nacionales assured the farm sector that the national government is monitoring the situation and the DA is closely coordinating with the local government units.
He said that they also have included in their mitigation plans programs like distribution of certified seeds, livestock growing, swine fattening, piglet dispersal, vegetable farming, massive vaccination for farm animals, and some financial assistance to shallow tube wells.
"Should the dry spell drag beyond its forecasted time this year, we have our recovery plans, and a possible option is to encourage the affected sector to engage in other economic activities. (PIA6) [top]