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PIA Press Release
2010/02/25

DA urges farmers to grow veggies and other cash crops

Manila (25 February) -- Amid the reported huge losses on agricultural crops due to El Niņo weather phenomenon, the Department of Agricultural (DA) urges rice and corn farmers in the country to shift to vegetables and other cash crops to cushion the impact of the dry spell on their livelihood.

It is reported that damages to agricultural crops is estimated at P700 million due to drought affecting several regions in the country including Cotabato Province and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

In Maguindanao, a Forum on El Niņo was conducted Monday spearhed by the Provincial Task Force on El Niņo led by OIC Goivernor Bai Nariman Ambolodto in coordination with USAID funded Siad in Mindanao-Convergence for Asset Reform and Regional Development (SIM-CARRD and Freidrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a German funded non-government organization.

The Maguindanao El Niņo Tsk Force convened the officials of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agririan Reform (DAR) and Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) to beef up mitigation measures and alternative livelihood activities such as shift to vegetable growing by affected farmers.

To cushion the impact of the dry spell on the livelihood of farmers, the Task Force will closely monitor the implementation of mitigation efforts and step up subsidies to affected sectors.

Agriculture Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla hinted that vegetable production could be a lucrative endeavor for farmers who might be affected by the protracted dry spell.

The DA official disclosed that the government has mapped out a contingency plan that includes subsidies to farmers in terms of seeds and farm inputs.

As early as July last year, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has directed heads of the Ginituang Masagani Ani (GMA) Program and all officials in charge of various crops like palay ang corn to come up with their respective contingency plans designed to mitigate the adverse effect of El Niņo on farmers. (pbc/PIA) [top]

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