By Jennifer Catan-Tilos
NEGROS ORIENTAL (PIA) — Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) convened recently in a bid to address the prolonged dry season expected to affect the agricultural production in the province due to El Niño phenomenon.
According to meteorological officer Neptune Catarata of PAGASA, the country is experiencing drought and dry spell which may further intensify this year and persist until early 2016.
The weather bureau in its forecast stated that from Spetember to December this year, Visayas provinces which include Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Cebu, and Biliran are affected with drought conditions.
With this, the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) has prepared measures to mitigate the adverse effects of El Niño on farms.
Provincial Agriculturist Officer Gregorio Paltingca said that as an initial move in preparation for this phenomenon, they are encouraging farmers to “plant early maturing varieties and to use variety of high resistance rice that will help the farmers in times of drought or dry spell.”
He also advised farmers to practice organic farming and plant alternate crops that need less water.
Paltingca said his office has intensified the establishment of small farm reservoir, shallow tube wells, and small water impounding projects.
He also asked the farmers in the province to apply alternate wetting and drying method of irrigating rice.
In terms of corn production, El Niño is expected to reduce area planted to corn by 45,170 hectares from regular 67,755 has. cultivated area, which might result to an estimated production loss of 20,552.35 metric tons of corn grains, Paltingca reported.
For rice production, some 6,604 hectares are projected damage area due to El Niño which may also affect rice production of 20,934 of palay with only sufficiency level of 33 percent.
Pagasa will continue to monitor the climate system, analyze rainfall, temperature conditions and forecast update, assess dry spell situation, and outlook at possible affected areas and issue advisories of latest climate information.
All concerned agencies and institutions are advised to take precautionary measures to mitigate the potential impacts of the current El Niño. (rmn/jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA Website on Oct. 6, 2015)