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DA allots P725 million to lessen El Nino’s impact

By Rhaydz B. Barcia


PILI, Camarines Sur --- The Bicol Department of Agriculture is preparing for potential El Niño impacts, although the region is currently unaffected. El Niño is expected to persist until the March-April-May 2024 season, with a transition to ENSO-neutral in April-May-June.


Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Catanduanes may face dry conditions, as predicted by PAGASA. Despite receiving some precipitation in December 2023, Albay, Camarines Sur, and Masbate experienced below-normal rainfall.


The DA in Bicol is closely monitoring El Niño's effects using drones, with historical data revealing significant damages in the 1990-2020 period, totaling P1.82 billion, primarily impacting rice and corn.


Provinces like Albay, Camarines Sur, Masbate, and Sorsogon anticipate way below normal rainfall in February 2024, affecting crops at various stages. Forecasted rainfall in March-April is favorable for harvesting, but increased temperatures may reduce vegetable crop yields.


Common pests and diseases are expected due to high temperature, precipitation, and humidity. Rep. Fernando Cabredo highlights water scarcity in upland areas, impacting farmers and urging assistance from the DA.


Mayor Adrian Salceda reports four towns affected in Albay, seeking support from the DA for affected farmers through financial assistance, water supply augmentation, and insurance claims.


Guarin emphasizes potential drought impact on 113,354 hectares, allocating a P725 million budget for 2024, with a focus on the National Irrigation Administration and various El Niño-responsive interventions, including irrigation pumps, weather stations, stress-tolerant seeds, and agriculture drones.


RICE farmer in Cabasan village, Cagraray Island, Bacacay town inspects the drought-stricken rice-land. Rhaydz B. Barcia photo


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