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PIA Press Release
2010/02/10

No El Nino in Eastern Visayas, but mitigating measures in place, DA-8 says

Tacloban City (February 10) -- There is no sign of El Nino in Eastern Visayas but mitigating measures are already in place, Department of Agriculture Regional Executive Director Leo Caneda informed.

As guest of the Philippine Information Agency's Panindugan television program, recently, Director Caneda disclosed that the bulk of the Region's intervention is the installation of small scale irrigation facilities composed of water impounding projects and shallow tube wells.

Of the P80 million budget, DA 8 has submitted for El Nino, about P30 Million are for the establishment of small scale irrigation facilities, Director Caneda added.

Most of these small scale irrigation facilities will be set up in Samar Island because it is there where there these are needed most as the percentage of irrigated lands is lesser.

In the Leyte Islands, Biliran for example, is 97% irrigated. Even if El Nino will bring its wrath here, it will not really have adverse effect because there are many sources of water in the Region which could be tapped to bring water the rice fields.

Another measure is on production side, Director Caneda informed. Because of climate change, the effect of which is already being felt all over the world, the name of the game is adaptability, Director Caneda informed.

Thus, in the Philippines varieties of rice have been developed in such a way that they could adapt to different kinds of environmental condition, the good director said.

There are varieties of rice which are drought tolerant, Director Caneda said. In case of El Nino, the farmers in the affected areas will be encouraged to use these varieties.

In flood-prone areas, the submarino or the submergible rice varieties will be made available to the farmers. In fact, there are also saline tolerant rice varieties which will grow in areas where the sea water has already reached the farmlands.

Director Caneda said that Region 8 is known for abaca, coconut and rice. In case of El Nino, the farmers could diversify to corn because corn is shorter term maturing and needs lesser water. Besides, there is not much supply of yellow corn in the region, so there is still a need to produce more yellow corn.

Director Caneda expressed gratitude that the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council has included the issue of El Nino in its action plan.

Even if the Region will not be hit by El Nino, the challenge to the farmers is to produce more and sell more to the other neighboring regions which are adversely affected, Director Caneda concluded. (PIA 8) [top]

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