The Department of Agriculture will intensify its efforts to address the negative effects of El Niño through its regular program funds and utilization of its quick response fund (QRF).
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said they will fast-track monitoring and validation to ensure the efficient delivery of appropriate services/interventions critical for the rehabilitation of affected areas.
He added, from April to July, the Department targets a total of 1,750 bags of rice registered seeds, 43, 635 bags of certified seeds, 42,362 bags of hybrid rice/HYTA, 1,513 bags of green super rice, 80,000 kilograms of soil ameliorant/zinc sulphate, and 5,000 bags of organic fertilizer for distribution to affected farmers.
“Other seed supply will serve as bufferstock for delivery to DA warehouses,” Alcala said.
According to the Secretary, for corn, a total of 28,900 bags of open pollinated variety (OPV) corn and 12,500 bags of organic fertilizer will be provided, while for high value crops, 600 kilograms and 5,500 packs of assorted vegetable seeds, 25,000 kilograms (kg) of mungbean and 28,000 kg of mungbean will be distributed.
For livestock 4,633 bottles of biologics, 65,000 doses of medicines, 30,000 packs of surveillance for pests and diseases, 400 bags of feed concentrates and 180 heads of goat will be provided.
Under the water augmentation initiatives of the DA, 332 units of pump and engine sets, nine units of diversion dams, 1,816 unit of pump irrigation for open source and four units of drilling rig will be given away.
“The regional field units has extended the distribution of shallow tube wells (STWs) to rainfed and upland areas closer to water tributaries,” Alcala said.
Meanwhile, the DA’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) has deployed contracted aircrafts to seed clouds for rain in identified vulnerable agricultural areas and watersheds to minimize the impact of El Niño to crop production.
To date, a total of 194 sorties have been conducted which has reached more than 231 flying hours covering Isabela, Bohol, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Saranggani, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.
The DA’s RFOs has also identified critical areas and has intensified its cloud seeding operations in strategic locations nationwide to save crops.
A total of 618 bags of salt was disposed of in 48 sorties conducted in various locations in the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Saranggani, Maguindanao and Davao City.
“It was also undertaken in areas of wide magnitude where the development of crops such as rice corn becomes critical due to inadequate soil moisture,” Alcala said.
The DA continues to push for the maximization of production in non-vulnerable areas, he added.
Presently, the RFOS has distributed 11,309 bags of hybrid rice seeds worth P55,345,000; 61,742 bags of certified rice seeds worth P83,530,520; 18,440 bags of fertilizer and hybrid seed package worth P50,344,000; 150 bags of soil ameliorants; 166 units of crop insurance, and; 572 bags of multi-stress seed variety green super rice to affected farmers.
For corn, the RFOs distributed 2,255 bags of hybrid seeds worth P10,147,500; 44, 091 bags of OPV seeds worth P32,812,150,and; 550 bags of yellow corn.
The DA has distributed 8,000 bundles of cassava seed pieces and 45,000 cuttings of sweet potato. It has also been promoting crop shifting through the distribution of drought-resistant assorted vegetable seeds, among them 14,000 kg of mungbean worth P2,000,000; 4,9000 kg of garlic and 22,720 kg of peanut worth P3,760,000.
The agency also gave away 6,875 units of pump irrigation equipment worth P46,027,647 to address water scarcity in vulnerable areas due to low water levels in reservoirs, particularly those at the tail-end of irrigation systems as part of the DA’s interventions to mitigate the effects of El Niño.
Besides these, 604 units of shallow tube wells (STWs) have also been distributed to eligible farmers’ organizations and irrigators’ associations.
Seventeen units of diversion dams (DDs) and three units of small water impounding projects (SWIPs) have also been constructed, while four SWIPs and five DDs were repaired to augment the water requirements of affected crops and help farmers sustain the water requirement of their commodities, he added.
“A total of 5,624 linear meters of irrigation canal were improved for use during the period of El Niño cropping, and 67 rolls of high density polyethylene pipes and 70 pieces of drums were also provided” the Secretary said.
For livestock, 84 bottles of multivitamins, 263 doses of vaccines and 144 bottles of various veterinarian drugs and biologics were provided through local government units to keep agricultural animals from acquiring diseases that are prevalent and devastating during the dry season.
He added, the DA-RFOs, in coordination with provincial action teams, conduct regular monitoring on the effects of El Niño, including the immediate validation of areas with reported damages. # Source - (Ian Go, DA-OSEC)/www.da.gov.ph