NegOr agri agencies ready to provide El Niño mitigating measures

By Roi Lomotan


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.


PAO NegOr braces for El Niño

By Jennifer C. Tilos


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).

Dauin LGU to extend aid to highland brew coffee shop

By Jennifer C. Tilos


Dauin Mayor Neil Credo (in blue shirt) with members of ANOPIO and local media as they discuss the development of Highland Brew Coffee in Brgy. Baslay, Dauin. (PIA/Negros Oriental)

Dauin Mayor Neil Credo has assured members of the Baslay Farmers Association (BFA) of the financial assistance needed for Highland Brew Coffee’s valued-added service facility and native snacks in a joint briefing with members of the Association of Negros Oriental Public Information Officers (ANOPIO) and local media in Barangay Baslay, Dauin.

A 120-hectare Baslay coffee farm-plantation known for its homegrown highland brew coffee, the facility serves distinctive flavor brewed coffee and is now being visited by local and foreign tourists.

Baslay is 860 meters above sea level where the Highland Brew Coffee shop serves brewed coffee.

Mayor Credo said aside from coffee being served within its plantation, he wanted to have additional servings of native snacks or foods to pair with the coffee.

With that, the mayor offered of an initial P100,000 capital for the purchase of food storage, utensils, food supplies, among others needed for a coffee shop.

The association also requested for a decent and permanent restroom or lavatory for the visitors.

The mayor also pledged that the local government will fix the more than 400-meter road leading to the coffee processing site.

It is noted that aside from the coffee being served within its farmstead, it will also showcase a ride of ‘Tartanilla or Carosa’ being pulled by a carabao.

There are three types of coffee being produced in Baslay, namely Robusta coffee (70 percent), Arabica (30 percent), and the barako coffee or Liberica.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has further developed this farm tourism in Negros Oriental in order to help the countryside.

Some 29 coffee growers and members of BFA received earlier their certificate of participation from DOT-7 Regional Director Shahlimar Hofer Tamano after they completed the seven-day seminar on Cultural Community Tour Guiding at Brgy. Baslay.