DA urged farmers to do adaptation practices

THE LOOMING rainy season just right after El Niño prompted the Department of Agriculture in the region to make a call to farmers to adjust their practices according to their recommendations.

Joe del Leliza, DA-XI agriculturist, said on Monday that the full effect of La Niña will be experienced by farmers on September. Normal rainfall will be experienced in July.

Leliza encouraged rice farmers to plant submergence-tolerant rice varieties as soon as seeds from the International Rice Research Institute will be made available. The amount has not been quantified yet.

He also added that farmers adjust their planting calendar and plant as soon as June so that crops will not have to go through La Niña when it is at its strongest.

He also said that farmers should repair dikes, drainage and irrigation canals, to drain excess water from rice fields before and after heavy rains, to use windbreak structures and mechanical dryers during weeks of nonstop rainfall.

Corn farmers are also reminded not to plant in sloping areas, or contour these when possible.

As of April 30, Leliza said that 11 Davao del Sur towns, three Davao del Norte towns, five Davao Oriental towns, and two Compostela Valley towns are still under a State of Calamity due to El Niño.

There are also 82 barangays in Davao City are also affected by El Niño, and interventions (like providing seed sacks) are underway. These seeds are broken down as follows: 257 rice seeds, 703 corn seeds, 2,000 cassava seeds, and 64 mung bean seeds.

Partial data from DA shows that the total losses in rice caused by El Nino amounted to almost P220 million; P77 million of corn damages have also been recorded. About 8,000 farmers are affected by this. Damages for high value crops amounted to P15 million.

DA in the region currently has an allotment of P38 million for El Niño interventions this year. In 2016, this amount will increase to P43 million.

A complete damage report is yet to be made by the department to allow them to distribute interventions properly. They have also requested P759 million from the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council for rehab; P6.5 million of this will be given to Region XI.

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