TACLOBAN CITY-The Department of Agriculture (DA-8) is now monitoring the rice areas in the region in anticipation of the El Nino phenomenon. “Nearly half of the region’s 169,502 hectares of rice areas that most of them are in Samar areas are endangered to drought during an El Nino phenomenon,” said Elvira Torres, DA regional technical director for research and regulation. Its priority is the 81,096.79 hectares of rain fed rice areas that are sensitive to unfavorable impact of a dry season. The rice farmers are encouraged to use the diversified rice farming and to adopt an effective water management approach as a way to lessen the impact of the phenomenon. The Department of Science and Technology had earlier announced that El Niño phenomenon may start affecting the Philippines in June and peak by end-2014.
Among the 44 provinces in the country projected to be hit by the weather phenomenon, Samar was identified to be as “moderately vulnerable.” Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala had earlier announced that their department has identified some interventions as the country braces for the El Nino phenomenon. Among these interventions include cloud seeding and giving of shallow tube wells and introduction of drought tolerant crop varieties.  The region has a total 74,143.09 hectares of irrigated areas and a total 14,263.05 hectares of upland rice areas. The DA has its promotion of the Green Super Rice Variety for 22 pilot areas in the region. (JONA MAE ESTIL, LNU Intern)