Piñol: Be ready for another possible El Niño

Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has ordered his agency to be ready and set precautionary measures in case another lengthy dry spell will hit the country this year.

Piñol said that DA will start their plans on protecting the Filipino farmers and fishermen from the ill-effects of the possible El Niño phenomenon in the latter part of the year.

This happened after the Australian Weather Bureau made a forecast that the Pacific Ocean could warm up again, projecting a long dry spell that could start as early as the end of 2017 or early 2018.

 “The Philippines and other poor countries in the region will have to prepare for another climatic threat,” he said.

Piñol added that the El Niño could severely affect fish catch and destroy crops again.

And to ensure that El Niño will not hit the next harvest, the secretary asked  for coordinative efforts with other agencies, especially the National Irrigation Administration, for the early release of irrigation water for the next planting season will be carried out.

He also suggested the National Food Authority to fast-track its procurement program and import whatever would be the shortfall in the rice buffer stocks.

Piñol will also present a proposal to President Rodrigo Duterte that, among other things, calls for the immediate start of the Solar-Powered Irrigation System throughout the country.

The last time an El Niño hit the country was from 2015 to the first quarter of 2016, the country’s agriculture sector declined by as low as 4 percent.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) revealed that there is “high uncertainty” in the forecast at the moment. (Mico Agustin)

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Friday, 23 February 2018
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