In line with the commitment of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to ensure stable and affordable food supply for every Filipino, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is taking the necessary actions to prepare the agriculture and fisheries sector ahead of the looming El Niño phenomenon this year.
On June 1, 2023, the DA’s National El Niño Team (DA-NENT) convened partner agencies from the Food Security Group under the National El Niño Team of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NENT-NDRRMC) for its 1st Inter-agency Meeting to discuss the actions taken and plans of the member-agencies.
“We in the DA are doing our best in trying to allocate the resources like seeds, fertilizers, and other commodities that are necessary for the impact of the El Niño phenomenon to the farming communities in the country,” Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said during the meeting.
The DA Field Operations Service Director and DA-NENT Chairperson U-Nichols Manalo presented the DA El Niño Mitigation and Adaptation Plan for crops, fisheries, and livestock subsectors. The plan is based on the four thematic areas of the DRRM framework, namely, prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, and rehabilitation and recovery.
The strategies identified include dissemination of information, education, and communication materials, proper water management, prepositioning of resources, crop diversification, adjustment of planting calendar, buffer stocking of inputs, promotion of short cycle and drought tolerant crops, among others.
“DA is already preparing for the worst scenario for El Niño this year. Nevertheless, we will be of course expecting PAGASA to provide us regular updates on this. Sana po ay hindi naman magtuloy, but we should always prepare for the worst case scenario,” DA Assistant Secretary for Operations Arnel De Mesa said.
He also noted that not all areas in the country will be affected, thus the government initiatives could focus more on areas that will be severely hit.
De Mesa also urged the representatives from partner government agencies to facilitate easy access and sharing of information with the DA to guide planning and decision making activities.
“With all of us working together, we shall be able to achieve more,” Panganiban, for his part, said.
The members of the DA-led Food Security Group are the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Energy (DOE), Labor and Employment (DOLE), Budget and Management (DBM), Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), Department of Finance-Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (DOF-PCIC) are also part of the group. By DA-AFID