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Feature: El Nino provides opportunities, too

Iloilo City (15 March) -- Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director Larry Nacionales said there is now a bumper harvest of watermelon, mango and other summer crops and farmers who grow them are raking in profits that they have not enjoyed in years.

While the El Nino phenomenon is a bane to agricultural crops that do not thrive well during a prolonged dry spell, on the other hand it is a boon especially to watermelon and mango.

During the meeting convened by the DA Regional Field Unit 6 and Western Visayas Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) here last week, Nacionales also painted a rosy outlook for farmers by saying a bumper palay harvest is expected in the first or wet crop this year as the dry spell is allowing the dry and cracked soil to be subjected to aeration, which is favorable to good crop growth and yield.

Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council's Ric Provido also revealed that the dry spell is also favorable to some extent to sugarcane because the climatic condition enables the high-value crop to produce 30 percent more sugar content.

Relatively wide tracts of farmlands in the region especially in Iloilo have been planted this year to watermelon that are producing bumper yields due to the sunny climate that favors the production of the sweet and succulent fruit.

The current climatic condition is favorable to mango, unlike last year when there were intermittent rains even during the months of April and May.

In fact, Nacionales revealed during the meeting that Municipal Agricultural Officers (MAOs) reached a consensus to call for a deferment of any cloud-seeding activity to induce rains in the region to April or until such time when mangoes would have surpassed their flowering stage.

Earlier, Nacionales has confided that this year's dry spell, while it may have disadvantages, is also a source of opportunities.

The DA regional chief said the DA RFU 6 and RDCC convened the meeting to assess the effects of El Nino and monitor updates on mitigating measures undertaken by concerned government agencies and institutions in agriculture, fisheries, water supply and other affected sectors. (PIA 6) [top]

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