BATAC CITY, Ilocos Norte, Norte —As the country braces for prolonged drought, farmers in this top rice-producing region are being encouraged to try new weather-resistant rice varieties depending on their location.

Attended by hundreds of farmers from Ilocos region and its neighboring provinces, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) based in Batac City organized a grand field day Tuesday where various demonstration farms of either drought and flood-resistant varieties were shown to them by field technicians and researchers.

Each of the characteristics of these varieties were presented to them to consider during the planting season.

On the same day, Senator Cynthia Villar, in her capacity as chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture also attended the event as she lauded the Ilocos Norte government’s effort to help farmers mitigate the impact of climate change.

With a theme, “Climate Change sangoen, teknolohia sukisoken ken usaren, ti apit pasayaaten,” Ilocos farmers are taught how to take advantage of these new varieties and be prepared for the challenges of erratic weather conditions.

To date, the provincial government in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and PhilRice continue to distribute rice seed stocks that can withstand drought or too much water during the wet season.

Researchers also reiterated the use of alternate wetting and drying technology to save on water while recommending other alternative crops for farmers to augment their income in the event that their major crop falters. PNA