Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Regional Operations Joel Rudinas has assured the public that the DA has implemented mitigating measures against the impact of the La Niña weather phenomenon on the agricultural sector, a government press release said
This is to ensure that grain and food production programs remain on track this year, the press release said.
Rudinas, is concurrently the chairman of the El Niño/La Niña Presidential Task Force.
Rudinas explained that the mitigation measures against La Niña include the continuous repair and rehabilitation of irrigation systems and farm-to-market roads as well as the early pre-positioning of seeds for farmers during the wet or main crop season.
La Niña is the abnormal cooling of sea surface temperatures, which trigger heavy rainfall. Its opposite, the El Niño, which causes dry spells due to the abnormal warming of sea surface temperatures, has just ended in the country, the press release said.
Rudinas noted that despite the recent El Niño onslaught and the impending La Niña phenomenon, the agricultural sector managed to expand by 2.5 percent in 2010.
“For La Niña, we are doing rehabilitation work on irrigation and farm-to-market roads,” he stressed.
“After that, what’s important is the prepositioning of seeds for our farmers because the rains have already started to come, and some of them (farmers) are already preparing to plant,” he said.
Rudinas said the DA is also coordinating closely with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology, on the La Niña phenomenon, the press release said.
The cold front behind heavy rains that triggered floods and landslides in some parts of the country in the past weeks may last until February or March, according to PAGASA. The cold front is also starting to affect the Western Visayas region.
Rudinas said the DA’s Ginintuang Masaganang Ani Rice Program with a budget of P12.3 billion is also implemented as a part of the La Niña mitigation measures.
This amount is on top of what would be spent in the event that calamities strike the farm sector in the coming months of the year, the press release said.*