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PIA Press Release

Central Visayas adopts measures to sustain food production despite El Nino

Taccloban City (February 7) -- The Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas has adopted mitigation measures in order to sustain food production in Region 7 despite El Nino which is expected to affect cropping in the first semester of 2010.

The province of Bohol and some parts of Negros Oriental in Central Visayas are included in the 24 areas in the country identified as "moderately vulnerable" to the El Nino phenomenon, DA7 Regional Technical Director Angel C. Enriquez said.

It is expected that 3,788 hectares of rice lands, mostly in the province of Bohol, will be affected by drought brought about by El Nino.

DA7 is set to mitigate damage on rice production in Central Visayas through the GMA Rice program; the establishment of 844 units of shallow tube wells and pump irrigation system open-source (PISOS); restoration or rehabilitation of seven existing irrigation systems and distribution of drought-resistant varieties such as PSB Rc 68 intended for 125 hectares of affected rice areas.

Furthermore, DA7, through the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is also intensifying its efforts to promote the Water-Saving Technology (Alternate Wet and Dry) in rice areas serviced by national and communal irrigation systems in the region.

In terms of corn production, El Niņo is expected to reduce area planted to corn, mostly in the provinces of Bohol and Negros Oriental, by 2,671 hectares, which would result to an estimated production loss of 6,674 metric tons.

Among the adopted strategies designed to combat the effects of El Niņo in the corn-producing areas in Region 7 are the distribution of 6,000 bags of seeds of drought-tolerant corn seed varieties; encouraging farmers to plant sweet potato and cassava as corn intercrop by distributing planting materials to be planted in 70 hectares throughout the region; and the conduct of four (4) batches of training on corn production for farmers and retooling of corn technicians; and distribution of 100,000 trichogramma cards for the control of corn borer for an estimated 2,000 hectares of areas planted to corn in Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental.

To counter the ill effect of El Nino on the livestock sector, the GMA Livestock program has also lined up several measures, among which are the promotion of technologies on silage production; utilization of farm byproducts and other feed resources; mineral and protein supplementation; and animal health protection. These interventions are expected to cover approximately one million animal population valued at P 5,000,000 in threatened areas.

For the high-value commercial crops (HVCC) sector, a total of 426 hectares of areas planted to vegetables and other commercial crops throughout the region are considered vulnerable or threatened areas. If affected by El Niņo, this would result to an estimated production loss of 959 metric tons. This includes an estimated 240 hectares of prime mango production areas and 20 hectares planted to ubi kinampay in the province of Bohol.

As mitigating measure, the GMA HVCC program will be distributing some 1,300 kilograms of assorted vegetable seeds; 160,000 pieces of ubi planting materials; and 1,000 bags of mango flower inducer. These will be complemented with the development or establishment of 25 springs and 40 drip irrigation systems as source for irrigation for vegetable and commercial crops in affected areas. (PIA 8) [top]

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