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DA promotes drought-resistant crops to counter El Niño impact

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union, Feb. 23 (PIA) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) is pushing farmers to temporarily shift to drought-resistant plants which do not require so much water and can survive under extreme heat amid the projected threats of El Niño. 

The state weather bureau PAGASA said El Niño will likely persist from March to May which will impact the agriculture sector. 

In line with the directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the DA is exhausting all means to assist farmers and advocate for various approaches to mitigate the effects of the dry season to prevent compromising the country’s agricultural production and food supply. 

DA-Regional Field Office 1 Regional Technical Director Dennis Tactac advised rice farmers in the region to divert from the usual palay production to the growing of corn, pinakbet vegetables, and root crops during the onslaught of the dry spell. 

“Palay requires a significant volume of water so it will really be vulnerable during El Niño,” he said during an episode of PIA’s Kapihan sa Ilocos. 

However, if some farmers opt to continue with their palay production, Tactac reminded them to check if their farmlands are strategically located close to water reservoirs or irrigation systems. 

Tactac also said it will be crucial for rice farmers to practice water management strategies in farming. 

“Observe good housekeeping in their irrigation systems and use water-saving technologies like the alternate wetting and drying,” Tactac said.  

He added, “Farmers must always ensure the regular cleaning and maintenance of their irrigation canals or they can prepare a schedule for irrigation activities.” 

Meanwhile, Tactac shared that the DA is preparing for the distribution of pump and engine sets and solar-powered irrigation systems to farmers' associations in the Ilocos region.  

Also, DA is going around the region to conduct rice technology fora to discuss and determine the highest-yielding and pest-disease-climate resistant seeds as evaluated by the farmers themselves. 

DA will use the result of the fora as the basis for its procurement of hybrid seeds for its distribution program, wherein the rice variety with the highest rating from farmers will be the reference. 

As of  January, the DA-Regional Field Office  reported that there were already 34 hectares of farmland in Tayug, Pangasinan which experienced a dry spell, affecting 30 farmers. (JCR/AMB/CGRCC, PIA Region 1)

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Caren Grace Cabanayan


Region 1

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