Task force shores up measures to extenuate El Nino
Tacloban City (February 7) -- Amid PAGASA's forecast that the El Nino phenomenon may last until July, the Department of Agriculture and its attached agencies,, are implementing measures to mitigate the adverse effects of El Nino on the agriculture sector.
DA Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla said that the among the measures being implemented by the DA attached agencies, the National Irrigation Administration, Bureau of Soils and Water Management, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Bureau of Animal Industry, National Food Authority and Food Terminal Inc., include scheduling the release of irrigation diversion equipment for the Angat Maasim River Irrigation System and the linking of canals from the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System to avoid delays in the planting season.
Usec Fondevilla added that the Bureau of Soils and Water Management, with assistance from the Philippine Air Force, is now conducting cloud-seeding operations in critical drought areas.
Furthermore, about 6,000 units of shallow tube wells will be installed for the fisheries sector.
Meanwhile, DA's field operations service and the regional field offices will help farmers shift to alternative crops to minimize losses, apart from providing subsidies for drought-and-saline tolerant seeds.
The agriculture undersecretary said that DA is realigning P1.7Billion from its regular budget this year to bankroll these measures.
The government's mitigation measures are focused on the 23 highly vulnerable and 24 moderately vulnerable areas in the country.
The total agricultural production losses under a mild El Nino scenario is estimated at P8.09 Billion; and P20.46 Billion under a severe dry spell. (PIA 8) [top]