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El Niño causes initial P717.5K damage to rice crops

Dry spell brought by El Niño has caused an initial P717,500 worth of damage to rice crops which are at the early stages of growth.

Citing the initial assessment from its Regional Field Office IX, the damage and losses to agriculture affected 22 farmers tilling 22.25 hectares of rice fields in Zamboanga del Norte.

“The damage and losses were incurred at vegetative stages of rice,” the DA said.

The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by the abnormal warming of sea surface temperature in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and below normal rainfall.

The DA said it has taken several measures to address the threat of El Niño, such as the following:

-Regular dissemination of advisories and agro-meteorological information through Municipal and City Agriculturists and Report Officers thru Facebook/Messenger

-Monitoring of weather conditions and actual ground situation

-Validation of vulnerable areas and identification of interventions for farmers to be affected

-Consolidation and analysis of data such as planting and harvesting, source and status of irrigation systems

-Joint area assessment before the conduct of cloud seeding operations

-Provided information to farmers on proper crop management during El Niño, including adjusting planting schedules and optimizing fertilizer use

-Promotion of drought-resistant crop varieties that are better adapted to the anticipated weather conditions during El Niño

Citing an El Niño advisory issued by state weather bureau PAGASA, the DA said a strong and mature El Niño is ongoing and is expected to continue through January to February 2024. 

“Majority of global climate models suggest that El Niño will likely persist until the March-April-May 2024 season with a transition to ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral in the April-May-June 2024 season,” it said. —LDF, GMA Integrated News