Measures in place to mitigate effects of El Niño: DA

Measures in place to mitigate effects of El Niño: DA

MANILA – An official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Friday said the government has put in place necessary measures to mitigate the possible effects of a looming El Niño phenomenon on rice production.

In a press briefing at Malacañang, Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian said the DA is already mapping out the areas that could be negatively or positively affected by the dry spell.

He further noted that the DA has prepared measures specifically for those areas that will be negatively affected by El Niño.

“Naghahanda naman kami sa Department of Agriculture kaya lang ako (The Department of Agriculture is preparing for this) I had experienced several El Niño and I’ve also found solutions to El Niño. Mayroon positive and negative na effect ang El Niño (El Niño has positive and negative effects),” Sebastian told the reporters.

“The areas that will be affected negatively, doon lang kami gumawa ng mga (those are the only areas that we’ve prepared) measures to mitigate the effect. But those areas (that) will have positive effect, iyong positive effect kasi ng El Niño ay iyong maganda iyong solar radiation, iyong init ng araw na nagpapataas ng ani (the positive effect of El Niño is good solar radiation, the heat from the sun would increase harvest),” he added.

Sebastian explained that there are regions in the Philippines that produce very high palay yields even during the El Niño, which the DA could concentrate on and maximize its intervention in order to boost output.

“So, hopefully maba-balance out iyong negative at saka iyong positive at kung successful tayo (So, hopefully we could balance out the negative and positive so that if we are successful), we may even gain from those areas we’re will have positive effect of El Niño,” he said.

Last month, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. ordered government agencies to prepare for the possible impact of the El Niño phenomenon, which is expected to hit the country in the last quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2024.

The President also instructed various agencies to ensure “protocol-based and scientific” long-term solutions to the impending problem and for them to come up with a campaign to generate public awareness on water and energy conservation.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the probability of the occurrence of El Nino is 80 percent for the months of June, July, and August, and 86 percent for the months of November, December and January although the country may experience heavy rainfall events prior to its impact. (PNA)

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