The Department of Agriculture (DA-6) is now in the process of conducting damage assessment of areas affected by the dry spell that hit mostly those with Type I climate or where there is a “distinct wet and dry” season.
These areas are usually located in southern Iloilo and Antique, Rene Famoso, chief of DA Regional Field Office (RFO-6) Operations Division, said on Wednesday, March.
“We advised them to plant other crops rather than rice that needs more water,” he said, adding that early as second semester of 2018, they have already been informed about the occurrence of the weak El Niño.
Farmers in these areas were encouraged to plant onions and garlic. DA has provided inputs for the establishment of 260.7 hectares of onions and 22 hectares of garlic.
“They were encouraged to avail of the production loan easy access of ACPC (Agricultural Credit Policy Council) if they opt to diversify to onion and garlic production,” he added.
Currently, DA has no complete data as to the affected areas although they it already received reports from local government units, which will be subjected to validation.
Nonetheless, he assured that the DA has buffer stocks available for farmers who will be affected by the dry spell.
“If they can’t come here, they can always visit the nearest municipal agriculture’s office because we have allocations for high value crop, corn and even rice,” he said.
In 2018, the DA has 11,194 bags of certified seeds and 7,961 hybrid palay seeds. For corn, there are 3,273 bags or open pollinated variety and 1,894 for hybrid. Some 7,250 packs of vegetable seeds are also ready for distribution.
This year, the DA has 380,000 kilograms (kg) of certified seeds; 105, 640 kg of registered seeds and 45,000 of hybrid seeds. They also have 62,948 kg of corn seeds.
As early as December last year the DA-High Value Crops Development Program has already provided 10,500 kilograms of mungbean seeds to Aklan and Antique to address the closure of irrigation by the National Irrigation Administration.
Further, the DA has provided 67 units of pump and engine sets to selected rice farmers and 15 units to corn farmers.
The Bureau of Soils and Water Management also transferred some PHP2.2 million for the conduct of cloud seeding.
The state weather bureau had forecast that rainfall will be below normal until June this year. (PNA)