With the prolonged dry conditions and warmer temperatures due to El Niño, the Department of Agriculture (DA) strengthens its measure to fully maximize and optimize the production of rice, corn and high value crops in the country.
As of April, the ongoing El Niño has affected 224,834 hectares (ha), from combined rice and corn production areas. Production loss has reached P6.58 million (M).
Latest data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) show that by mid-2016 (May-June-July 2016 season) condition in the tropical Pacific may return to neutral levels.
PAGASA announced that drought will likely be experienced in 32 provinces, while dry spell will be felt in 26 other provinces of the country. April is the transition period towards the Southwest monsoon season.
The latest data also showed that below to way below normal rainfall conditions are to be expected in the whole country for the month.
DA intensifies El Niño measure As of April, DA has already distributed 11,309 bags of hybrid rice seeds worth P55.34M; 61,742 bags of certified rice seeds worth P83.5M; 18,440 bags of fertilizer and hybrid seed package worth P50M; 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 regional field offices have handed out 2,255 bags of hybrid seeds, 44,091 bags of open pollinated variety (OPV) seeds, 550 bags of yellow corn and 8,000 bundles of cassava seed pieces.
To mitigate the water scarcity in vulnerable areas, DA has provided 6,875 units of pump irrigation equipment worth P46M, and 604 units of shallow tube wells (STW) worth P400,000. The agency has also improved 5,624 linear meter of irrigation canal.
For livestock, 84 bottles of multi-vitamins, 263 doses of vaccines, and 144 bottles of various vet drugs and biologics, with a total cost of close to P1M, were granted to the LGUs to keep animals from acquiring diseases that are widespread during dry season.
DA still optimistic Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala earlier said that the department has fast-tracked monitoring and validation activities to ensure the efficient delivery of appropriate services/interventions critical for the rehabilitation of affected areas.
DA is set to distribute a total of 1,750 bags of registered rice seeds, 43,635 bags of certified seeds, 42,362 bags of hybrid rice/ HYTA, 1,513 bags of green super rice, 80,000 kgs of soil ameliorant/ zinc sulphate and 5,000 bags of organic fertilizer to the farmers.
It will also supply a total of 28,900 bags of 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 peanut.
The regional offices has broadened the distribution of the STWs to rainfed and upland areas and upland areas. It targeted to distributed 332 units of pump and engine sets, 9 units of diversion dams, 1,816 units of pump irrigation equipment for open source and 4 units of drilling rig. # Source - (Kristel Merle, DA-AFID)/www.da.gov.ph