NegOr agri agencies ready to provide El Niño mitigating measures

By Roi Lomotan

 

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DA – 7 Official Marina Viniegas (with microphone) cites some of the department’s measures to mitigate the negative impacts of El Niño in Negros Oriental’s agriculture sector during a Kapihan sa PIA forum held on April 30, 2019 at Bethel Guest House, Dumaguete City.

 

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and Negros Oriental Provincial Agriculturist Office (PAO) are ready to provide support interventions to help farmers cope up with the possible effects of El Niño in the province’s agriculture sector.

In a Kapihan sa PIA forum held April 30 here, DA-7 Official Marina Viniegas said there is P63 million budget allocation for the implementation of the department’s El Niño mitigating measures in Central Visayas and most of these are already attributed to DA’s programs for 2019 particularly in rice and corn production.

Some of the activities to be carried out by the department include reproduction and distribution of information materials on El Niño advisories for farmers, cloud seeding operations, distribution of drums and pipes for water storage, irrigation system, training for alternative livelihood, provision of vaccines and biologics for livestock, monitoring of pest and diseases for crops and animals, and pest control.

“Although mo-advocate ta for (although we advocate for) organic agriculture, when it comes to pest outbreaks, we have to be ready with chemical control,” Viniegas explained.

The DA official also confirmed that Bohol and Negros Oriental will have the biggest slice of the budget since Bohol is the major producer of rice in the region while Negros Oriental is the major producer of corn.

For their part, PAO Operations Division Chief Alvin Blaza said their office will conduct information campaign on climate change mitigation to farmers, procurement and distribution of drought-tolerant varieties of rice, identification of sites for small scale irrigation systems to the areas prone to drought prior to the onset of El Niño, and provide alternate sources of livelihood for farmers as part of their interventions.

Part of the programs for alternate livelihood for farmers includes intensifying swine fattening and native chicken dispersal.

Aside from this, PAO is also conducting a pest monitoring for army worm and locusts which are prevalent during the dry season.

“A total of over P9 million forms our request as mitigating measures (A total P9 million have been allocated for our mitigating measures),” Blaza shared.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)-Negros Oriental Chief Meteorologist Neptune Catarata reported during the Kapihan Forum that the province experienced below normal rainfall over the past three months which is an indication of dry spell.

Catarata said the majority of the climate models suggest weak El Niño condition may persist June, July, and August.  However, based on the monthly outlook which he presented during the Kapihan, Negros Oriental may be able to experience near normal rainfall condition by June.

In relation to this, Blaza said the municipalities of La Libertad and Mabinay and Canlaon City have submitted their agricultural damage reports to PAO.

Based on their reports, around 252 hectares of rice fields in the aforementioned areas with different stages of crops (seedling, vegetative, and reproductive) are affected by the dry spell.

Blaza also disclosed that there are some local government units (LGUs) like Bayawan City which directly sent their report to the DA and their reports are not included in PAO’s data.

With this, Blaza said the Provincial Agriculturist made a request to city and municipal agriculturist in other LGUs to send copies of their reports to PAO so that they can include their data in the agency’s records.

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PAO NegOr braces for El Niño

By Jennifer C. Tilos

 

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Provincial Agriculturist Nestor Villaflores (w/ mic) presenting the mitigating measures to reduce the impact of El Niño phenomenon in the province during a Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Managment Council (PDRRMC) meeting. (PIA Negros Oriental)

 

The Office of the Provincial Agriculture (PAO) here is preparing for the possible effects of El Niño.

In a Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) meeting, local PAGASA Chief Neptune Catarata said a weak El Niño is present in the tropical Pacific and will likely affect the province with below normal rainfall conditions.

With this, Provincial Agriculturist Nestor Villaflores presented some mitigating measures to lessen the impact of the heat wave in the province.

While dry spell will be experienced in the province, Villaflores said it is expected that rice and corn production may decrease to 50 to 70 percent.

With this, various mitigation and adaption measures are set to include intensification of information dissemination to farmers and other affected stakeholders and production of fruit and forest trees.

The farmers will also be provided by drought-tolerant varieties of rice while increasing the establishment of small scale irrigation systems to farming communities including solar-powered irrigations systems and distribution of polyethylene hose to farmers.

However, Villaflores said some of these mitigating activities may need more than P5 million budgetary requirements.

He also mentioned that the effects of El Niño may lead to a loss of 20-50 percent of crop production in the province due to the possible occurrence of plant pests and diseases.

A series of surveillance and training on pest management and control will be conducted for farmers and “Bantay Peste Brigade” volunteers while providing insecticides upon the occurrence of plant pest during the period and the onset of rainy season.

PAO also braces to respond to expected consequences such as shortage of fish seeds production, damage of crops in shallow water, a decrease of income of farmers, and possible occurrence of red tide in some of the bay areas in the province.

Villaflores said his office has received reported damage of 78 hectares of rice at repining stage in seven barangays in the municipality of Mabinay, but this report is yet to be validated by his office.

Catarata said the weather system may cause varying impacts such as warmer than average surface temperatures and a prolonged dry season.

In May, Negros Oriental is one of the identified areas in the Visayas that will experience a dry spell.

Dry spell means three consecutive months of below-normal rainfall (21 percent to 60 percent reduction from average) or two months of consecutive way below normal rainfall (more than 60 percent reduction from average).

EDC’s ‘10M in 10’ partners to plant trees in Manjuyod town

By Jennifer C. Tilos

A group of partner-institutions of Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is set to plant 200 different species of tree seedlings on August 22 at Barangay Lamugong, Manjuyod for its support to the ’10 million trees in 10 years’ for a Greener Negros movement.

Manjuyod Mayor Felix Sy has offered the 5,000 square meters of lot for planting with almaciga, antipolo, balayong, and suru shorea seedlings.

In its second partner-cluster workshop, authotities prepared a tree growing plan four each organized groups under three major programs on knowledge management and capacity building, planting and execution, and monitoring and evaluation.

This is to effectively fulfill the functional areas of collaboration for the implementation of the ‘10M in10’ operational plan.

In the plan dubbed “Kooperasyon: Magtanin ay Masaya!” the group of Mayor Sy identified its activities, agency’s task and responsibilities to ensure that the seedlings planted will grow and be protected to achieve the goal of restoring forests in Negros Island.

The group composed of Negros Oriental State University (NORSU), Dumaguete City Water District (DCWD), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Negros Oriental Chapter, Provincial Tourism Office, and Silliman University led by Mayor Sy will also gather members of Manjuyod Bantay Gubat and Youth for Christ to assist in the planting of the seedlings.

During the planting activity, NORSU will provide the indigenous seedlings, DCWD takes care of the transportation of the group, PIA and KBP promotes the tree growing activity, others do the monitoring and evaluation aside from the actual planting.

The movement was initiated by EDC in 2015 to expand its BINHI greening legacy program in the region.

10M in 10 is Negros Island’s biggest forest restoration movement that aims to plant, grow, and protect at least 10 million trees in the next 10 years with the help and commitment of individuals, government agencies, people’s organizations, and private companies.

The movement has set three goals to achieve this: establish stable and productive watersheds, enhance and protect Negros Island’ unique biodiversity, and develop resilient communities and ecosystems that are able to adapt to climate change impacts.