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DA takes quick steps to help farmers in El Nino-affected areas

The Department of Agriculture will distribute vegetable seeds in Western Visayas while procuring planting materials for high value crops that need less water for Zamboanga Peninsula to help thousands of farmers cope with the damage and losses caused by El Niño.

These actions, which cost over P1 million, are on top of DA’s cloud seeding operations, pest control management, and promotion of wider use of drought-resistance crop varieties to help regions experiencing water shortage.

The latest El Niño bulletin estimates damage and losses to farms in Western Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula at P151.3 million, with 3,923 farmers affected. Estimates on possible production losses are at 6,618 metric tons of palay and corn while 3,291 hectares are affected by the dry spell.

“Most of the damage and losses were incurred on rice and corn that are on their reproductive stage,” the latest El Niño Bulletin said.

The DA has adopted an alternate wetting-and-drying system that reduced water consumption in rice fields. The agency is also checking use of solar-powered irrigation systems to bring water to farms that need them most.

DA is also studying areas for the feasibility of using shallow tube wells in rainfed areas.

The agency also plans to endorse affected farmers to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Department of Labor and Employment for other forms of assistance, including financial support. # (DA-DRRM Operations Center)

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