MALASIQUI, Pangasinan — A total of 744 hectares of farmlands in La Union and Pangasinan have been affected by the El Niño phenomenon as of March 29, according to an official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 1 (Ilocos).
Erlinda Manipon, Regional Technical Director for Operations of DA-1, said 487 hectares of farmland in Pangasinan were affected, while 257 hectares in La Union.
“Farmers affected per our registry system for basic sector for agriculture (rsba) are below one percent. In Pangasinan, there are 472 farmers or 0.13 percent and in La Union there are 423 farmers or 0.39 percent affected,” said Manipon in an interview Wednesday, noting most of the farmers have already harvested their crops.
She said most of the farmlands were planted with rice, corn, and vegetables.
Manipon attributed the reduced effect of El Niño to the adaptive measures taken by the farmers, as well as their readiness and good irrigation system in the farmlands.
“The effect of the phenomenon is not that felt by the farmers because here in the region, we are used to long dry climate. We already experienced six months dry season and six months wet season even before climate change so the farmers have already adapted to it. They are also ready, some farmers planted ahead of schedule even before the El Niño strikes, while others have good irrigation system,” she said.
Manipon said those who have been hit by El Niño are not able to prepare or those whose farms are at the tail-end of the irrigation systems.
“DA is giving assistance to farmers through water pumps and engines and some drugs and biologics for the livestock raisers to ease the effect of El Niño,” she disclosed.
DA-1 is still waiting for the reports of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, while it continues to monitor the farmlands all over the region.
Meanwhile, Senator Cynthia Villar in her visit to Pangasinan on Tuesday, told newsmen that DA, in cooperation with the Philippine Air Force, is implementing cloud seeding to induce rains as well as provide farmers with crop seeds that can withstand El Niño’s effects. Hilda Austria /PNA – northboundasia.com