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June 8, 2023 Joel dela Torre 149 views

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is preparing this early for the worst scenario El Nino phenomenon may bring.

According to Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban, the government is committed to ensure stable and affordable food supply for every Filipino, the reason why it is now taking necessary actions for the agri and fisheries sectors ahead of the looming weather condition this year.

Earlier, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said there is an 80 percent chance that the El Nino phenomenon will begin between June and August and last until the first quarter of 2024.

Part of the DA’s preparation was a meeting with partner agencies last June 1 attended by members of the Food Security Group under the National El Nino Team of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NENT-NDRRMC).

Discussed during the 1st Inter-Agency Meeting were actions taken and plans of the member-agencies.

“We in the DA are doing our best in trying to allocate the resources like seeds, fertilizers, and other commodities that are necessary for the impact of the El Niño phenomenon to the farming communities in the country,” Panganiban said during the meeting.

Strategies laid down included dissemination of information, education and communication materials, proper water management, prepositioning of resources, crop diversification, adjustment of planting calendar buffer stocking of inputs, promotion of short cycle and drought tolerant crops, among others.

DA Asst. Secretary for Operations Arnel de Mesa said that although not all areas in the country will be affected, there are initiatives the government should focus on areas that will be severely hit.

“DA is already preparing for the worst scenario for El Niño this year. Nevertheless, we will be of course expecting PAGASA to provide us regular updates on this. Sana po ay hindi naman magtuloy, but we should always prepare for the worst case scenario,” de Mesa said.

De Mesa also urged the representatives from partner government agencies to facilitate easy access and sharing of information with the DA to guide planning and decision making activities.

“With all of us working together, we shall be able to achieve more,” Panganiban, for his part, said.

Other members of the DA-led Food Security Group are the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Energy (DOE), Labor and Employment (DOLE), Budget and Management (DBM), Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), Department of Finance-Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (DOF-PCIC) are also part of the group.