Saturday, September 26, 2015

Agri sector braces for El Niño

STA. BARBARA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is bracing for the El Niño weather phenomenon, which is expected to peak during October this year to January 2016 and could turn into one of the strongest on record.

A comprehensive response plan was prepared by the agriculture department to address El Niño which focuses on two features: production support and water management. The plan also includes an information and communication program to educate the public about the weather phenomenon.

DA-Region 1 Executive Director Valentin Perdido said his agency extends support to the agriculture sector by implementing some of the mitigation and adaptation measures in the region as indicated on the plan.

“The DA will help irrigate the fields through the construction of small water-impounding systems,” Perdido said during the 3rd Regular Meeting of the Agribusiness Sector Committee of the Regional Development Council in the Ilocos held here last Tuesday.

In order to lessen the impact of El Niño particularly on the region’s main agricultural products, farmers are also encouraged to plant short gestation crops for them to immediately harvest, he said.

As support to production, DA will give assistance by distributing drought and pest-tolerant palay varieties of seeds and open-pollinated variety corn seedlings and monggo as alternative crops, he added.

Perdido appealed to the public to support efforts to help mitigate the impact of the drought.

“Climate change is the fruit of what we have done in the past. Let us act altogether to mitigate the effects of El Niño,” he said.

El Niño means “The Little Boy,” or “Christ Child” in Spanish.

The National Ocean Service (NOS) website states that “El Niño was originally recognized by fishermen off the coast of South America in the 1600s, with the appearance of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean. The name was chosen based on the time of year (around December) during which these warm waters events tended to occur.” (VHS/AMM/PIA-1, Pangasinan)

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