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PIA Press Release

Gov't agencies pool efforts to dampen El Nino effects

Tagbilaran City (6 February) -- Government agencies finally roll sleeves and joined hands to mold interventions to dampen the effects of dry spell impacting on the country's farm sector.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and six more attached agencies pool assorted intervention measures including optimized water delivery to irrigation systems, unleashing mobile animal diagnostic laboratories to tame the brunt of the abnormal weather condition.

DA has redirected the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and its irrigators' associations (IAs) in El Niņo-affected areas; the Bureaus of Soils and Water Management (SWM), of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and of Animal Industry (BAI); National Food Authority (NFA); and the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) to take a second look at lessening the impact of the dry spell.

El Niņo; the unusual warming of sea surface temperatures along the equatorial Pacific divests the zone of its average rainfall causing dry spells.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) foresees a mild El Niņo attack but the weather aberration is still projected to last until July.

But the DA, through Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla said the regional field units (RFUs) have been tasked to help implement measures especially those needing close supervision at the municipal level.

According to DA, the measures include scheduling the release of irrigation diversion equipment for the Angat Maasim River Irrigation System (AMRIIS), through the DA and NIA, and linking of canals from the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System (UPRIIS) to the Angat-Maasim Dam covering 6,000 hectares in Bulacan, to avoid delays in the planting season," he said.

He added that "NIA teams up with IAs in optimizing water delivery and scheduling to national irrigation systems and rehabilitating existing irrigation canals through the drainage reuse system."

With the Philippine Air Force, the BSWM is now carrying out seeding operations in critical drought areas, Fondevilla noted.

BSWM and BFAR has agreed to install 6,000 units of shallow tube wells and pumps or engine sets for fisheries, covering 18,000 hectares in drought affected provinces, and establish open source wells for community food gardens producing high value commercial crops (HVCCs). (PIA) [top]

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