Drought to cause billion-pesos damage

El Nino in Davao!

By ROGER M. BALANZA

It is going to be a hot, hot first half of Year 2010.

As Dabawenyos sweat it out under searing heat the past few days, the weather bureau said the El Nino phenomenon is here and could last up to the middle of this year.

 

The Department of Agriculture has the same forecast for the Davao Region and the rest of the country and sees drier months ahead could wreak havoc on agriculture.

DA Secretary Arthur Yap has crafted the El Nino Mitigation Program as the country braces against threats to agricultural production.

The program spells out mitigating measures to be carried out to blunt off the effects of severe dry-spell in areas tagged as “highly vulnerable” and “Moderately vulnerable.” El Nino is an abnormal weather condition brought by unusual warming of sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. The weather phenomenon is marked by drought, hot temperature and below-average rainfall.

The Davao Region however may not be in a troubling hot seat. It is lumped under the category of moderately vulnerable along with Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Mt Province, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Romblon, Sorsogon, Aklan, Antique, Bohol, Samar, Zamboanga Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga Sur, and Bukidnon.

The DA program against the effects of El Nino has earmarked P2.58 billion for cloud seeding, construction of shallow wells, irrigation systems and subsidies to farmers among others.

In a worst case scenario, DA said P57 billion worth of crops rice and corn in about one million hectares of croplands could be lost to drought. DA also sees bad days for farmers into sugarcane production and inland fishery.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said in June that El Nino is coming and would last up to June prompting DA to craft emergency measures.

 

 

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