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PIA Press Release
2010/02/08

DA-3 implements measures to cushion Central Luzon from brunt of El Nino

Manila (8 February) -- The Department of Agriculture in Region 3 has started implementing mitigation measures to cushion Central Luzon particularly the towns in the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Bulacan and Pampanga, from the brunt of the El Nino phenomenon.

Regional Director Redentor S. Gatus said that DA-3 has prepared a robust adaptation strategy that would increase the resilience of the agriculture sector and ensure food sufficiency in the region. This is because Central Luzon is highly reliant on agriculture for its livelihood and sustenance.

DA Region 3 has reactivated its municipal and provincial coordinating offices in an effort to heighten information and education campaigns concerning the negative effects of El Nino on agriculture. This will keep the farmers abreast on precautionary means that will help them allay the impact of the said phenomena.

DA-3 has similarly advised farmers to plant early maturing and drought-resistant crop varieties thru direct seeding and to refrain from burning rice straws but instead use them as composting materials to minimize moisture losses.

Furthermore, the farmers are also enjoined to make use of alternative crops that require minimal amount of water such as legumes, vegetables and root crops.

It likewise encouraged farmers to clean irrigation canals to improve water delivery and to reduce the water level in their rice paddies to as low as one to two centimeters, to save on water usage.

The DA-RFU 3 will also provide shallow tube wells and fast-track the procurement of water pumps to secure crop yields. Fertilizer and seed support will also be given to farmers.

Aside from this, the said agency will also spearhead the construction of alternative sources of irrigation such as small water impounding projects, small river diversion dams and small farm reservoirs, since irrigation will be of primary importance in sustaining food production and preventing the looming food crisis.

The Agriculture Department has also directed the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to closely monitor the water level status of the Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija and Angat Dam in Bulacan, because sufficient irrigation water coming from these dams is vital in keeping up the food production programs of the said agency, specifically its Quick Turnaround Program (QTA).

Anthony Nangel, Operations Manager of UPRIIS (Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System), has confirmed that both dams have adequate water capable of irrigating programmed areas for the dry cropping season, in the wake of the impending water crisis.

He also added that the heavy downpours brought about by typhoons Ondoy, Pepeng and Ramil, enabled the dams to store enough water that would last thru the duration of the summer period and even up to the wet cropping season.

According to him, NIA will also adopt Water Saving Technologies to promote a sustainable system of irrigated agriculture that features intermittent and lesser water application, a Quick Turnaround Scheme using the Ratooning Technology that will allow a third crop harvest, re-use of drainage water and adopt a rotation method of water delivery and distribution.

The rehabilitation and restoration of existing irrigation structures are also being put into action.

The Agriculture Department has likewise recommended cloud seeding as a stand by option particularly in rice and corn areas, should the scarcity of rainfall be prevalent.

The DA Region 3 is also continuing its distribution of Certificate of Entitlements (COE) to typhoon affected farmers whose rice fields were totally damaged by the recent weather turbulences. In this method, the fertilizer purchases of farmers will be reimbursed to them provided that they present their official purchase receipts that would not exceed the reimbursable ceiling indicated in the COE. (PIA 8) [top]

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