El Niño rice damage tops P700K

El Niño rice damage tops P700K

THE EL NIÑO weather pattern has, so far, wrought damage to rice farms in Zamboanga del Norte amounting to P717,500, initial reports reaching the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

“The damage and losses were incurred at vegetative stages of rice,” the DA’s bulletin issued on Thursday said, noting that a total of 22.3 hectares and 22 farmers were adversely affected in the region.

Earlier, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported that a strong El Niño is currently affecting the Philippines and projected to last until the second quarter, bringing dry spells to 63 provinces.

A strong and mature El Niño is ongoing and is expected to continue through January-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-neutral (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) in the April-May-June 2024,” the DA said.

Weather conditions that are classified as neither El Niño nor La Niña are considered to be an ENSO-neutral occurrence.

To mitigate further losses in crops, the DA said that it would continue to monitor weather conditions and actual ground situations.

The department will also validate vulnerable areas and identify the interventions for farmers affected.

The promotion of drought-resistant crops and crop management information was also disseminated to local producers, it added. — Adrian H. Halili