DA forms action teams to mitigate El Niño effect on rice production
The Agriculture Department’s National Rice Program on Monday ordered all regional field units to create El Niño Action Teams to assess and anticipate the effects of the periodic climate pattern.
Assistant Secretary Dante S. Delima, national rice program coordinator, issued the order as a report given by PAGASA Senior Weather Specialist Anthony Joseph Lucero during the 56th Climate Forum on September 7 said that the last quarter of the year might be prone to the El Niño phenomenon.
“As forecast, El Niño is seen to adversely affect large portions of Luzon, and other parts of the country with drought-like effects at a time when heavy rainfall is traditionally expected. This phenomenon will undoubtedly affect rice production in our rainfed areas, while critically placing water supply in our irrigation facilities at dangerous levels,” Delima said in his order.
The Regional El Niño Action Team (RENACT), is to be led by the Regional Executive Director as chairperson. The RENACT should coordinate with corresponding local government units and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils.
Once created, the teams shall immediately convene to assess the rice situation in their region, get updates from the appropriate regional or national government agencies, and plan out activities or interventions in consideration of the impending effects of El Niño and other climate change-related phenomena to rice production, Delima said.
“Mitigating measures should be identified to minimize the projected impact of El Niño on rice production, along with its budget requirements, monitoring and reporting mechanisms, and information management strategies in all stages should be in place,” he added.
The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) has projected that rice production for the second half of 2012 is forecast at 9.92 million MT, 8.9 percent higher than last year’s level of 9.11 million MT.
Based on standing crop, production of palay for July to September 2012 may reach 3.56 million MT, some 12.3 percent above last year’s 3.17 million MT, the Bureau said.
The Bureau data also indicate that based on farmers’ planting intentions, the October to December 2012 palay output is forecast at 6.36 million MT, 7.1 percent above last year’s 5.94 million MT.
The country’s January-June 2012 palay production was 7.89 million MT, 4.2 percent higher than last year’s level of 7.58 million MT.
However, if the El Niño threat does not materialize, the BAS forecasts higher production in Central Luzon by around 282,000 MT; Ilocos Region, 59,000 MT; Western Visayas, 91,000 MT; and MIMAROPA, 72,000 MT. — DVM/KG, GMA News
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