Herrera: Tame El Nino with alternative crops
Tagbilaran City (6 February) -- IN the urgency of dampening the effect of the dry spell now being felt in 46 provinces including Bohol, Vice Governor Julius Caesar Herrera presses for alternative crops and family managed patches while government technology can be easily had.
Bohol top legislator, who also sits as the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Agriculture Chair said he has talearned about the government's ready help for palay farmers who want to momentarily shift to corn.
He said the government can provide hybrid corn seeds.
Herrera, who with Governor Erico Aumentado has been distributing seeds and subsidies to raise Bohol's rice sufficiency rating now eyes vegetables and root crops varieties which may be drought tolerant.
We can just imagine the idle lots we have in our backyards, Herrera pointed out in an interview.
If we can put up a little patch of garden in there, plant high value commercial crops or vegetables the family can use, it can help on the family finances.
He also pointed out that some need not so much water and could withstand the drought with only a little of care and water, these crops could be used to raise chances of raising food sufficiency in the family.
He added that every town has got government farm technicians who can help and whom people can consult for possible intervention measures.
In the country, the Department of Agriculture is now is reportedly realigning P1.7 billion from its regular budget this year to bankroll El Nino mitigation measures.
Of this amount, the DA is carrying out P570 million-worth of intervention measures for the palay sector, government sources said.
Moreover, the government's 2010 El Niņo Mitigation Program include setting aside P613.7M for corn sector interventions and another P411 million for the HVCC subsector.
As to fisheries, the government is also putting aside P117.4M.
Based on DA studies, a total of 453,204 hectares of land planted to palay, 227,843 hectares of corn areas and 14,160 hectares in the fisheries sector are threatened by this year's El Niņo.
As early as December last year, the DA had already created its own task force to carry out its program to raise crop production along with farmers' incomes in the face of a then-looming "El Niņo" attack. (PIA) [top]