By Roi Lomotan
NEGROS ORIENTAL — Around 12 cities and municipalities in Negros Oriental are seen to be affected by the La Niña phenomenon once it hits the country.
Department of Agriculture – Negros Island Region (DA-NIR) Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division Officer Bernard Limbaga identified the following areas to be affected by the weather phenomenon: Bayawan City, Sta. Catalina, Siaton, Tanjay, Bindoy, Ayungon, La Libertad and Guihulngan as well as some areas in Dumaguete City, Sibulan, Zamboanguita, and Bacong.
“Most probably, majority of the rice-producing areas will be affected by La Niña,” he said.
PAGASA Negros Oriental Chief Neptune Catarata disclosed that the possibility of a weak La Niña phenomenon may occur starting September, October, November until January to February next year.
Carata said this may not bring intense rains but the rainfall amount is expected to be beyond normal conditions.
With this, the PAGASA official stressed the need to be prepared for the wet season.
Limbaga disclosed that the DA is taking proactive steps to make sure that food production will not be hampered with this climate problem.
Part of this is the intensification of the testing of submerged varieties of rice that will be given to the farmers to ensure that rice production will still go on despite the prevalence of La Niña.
Budget has also been allocated for buffer stock of food and seedlings in case a farmer gets affected by floods, DA is ready to distribute seedlings to farmers to replace damaged crops.
In line with this, Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation is strengthening their insurance programs for farmers.
DA is also continuously training farmers how to adapt to climate change and change their cropping patterns through climate field schools.
Limbaga also disclosed that DA has partnered with the Bureau of Soil and Water Management, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and PAGASA for the installation of automated weather stations that send data to DOST and PAGASA on humidity, rainfall, wind velocity, wind direction, sunshine duration, soil moisture, soil temperature, solar radiation and air pressure and temperature.
This aims to determine the trend of said components for planting crops within 10 years and develop a new cropping calendar for farmers.
The DA official explained they have to create a new cropping calendar because the existing data is obsolete due to changes in weather patterns because of climate change.
The project is ongoing and DA has already installed these facilities in San Jose, Bais City, and Canlaon City. (rmn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was originally published at PIA website on Aug. 29, 2016)