LA TRINIDAD, Benguet December 31 – The Cordillera office of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA_CAR) recently issued to farmers the required contingency plans that must be implemented in the grassroots level to allow rice and non-rice farmers to cope with the serious negative effects of the projected moderate or several El Niño phenomenon this year.
Engr. John Socalo, NIA-CAR regional irrigation manager, said farmers must adjust their cropping calendar schedules and pattern of planting with considerations on the planting of early maturing varieties of crops, , tail end areas of irrigation systems must plant diversified crops, speed up progress of land soaking and land preparation activities by adopting dry land preparation for light soils or sandy soils.
Furthermore, farmers must practice the no turnaround time between the wet and dry cropping seasons to ensure a greater area to be planted during the dry season, concerned agencies must campaign for direct seeding rather than transplanting to save irrigation water because it shortens the growing period of the plant and that for farmers planning to transplant for the incoming season, they are advised to seed sow their seeds ten days before harvest.
“We plant to implement rotational irrigation method on the delivery of irrigation water by series of lateral calls in order to ensure maximum irrigation of the service areas,” Socalo said.
The NIA-CAR will implement controlled irrigation, alternate wetting and drying, during the crop maintenance stage in order to guarantee the maximum utilization of the available water supply in the systems to be used by the farmers serviced for the purpose.
Socalao said the agency is currently conducting massive information and education campaign on the advisories of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on the expected occurrence of the drought from the period January to May this year.
According to him, the NIA-CAR tapped the services of leaders of irrigators associations in the different provinces representatives from the concerned government agencies and local governments to minimize the effects of the drought to the production of farmers during the dry cropping season.
“We have to be vigilant this time because the occurrence of drought is compounded by the serious negative effects of climate change. We want our farmers to sustain their production levels even with the onslaught of drought in order to continue uplifting the state of the local agriculture sector,” Socalo said.
Earlier, Letty Dispo, weather specialist of the Baguio-based PAGASA office, said weathermen are closely monitoring the earth’s surface temperature in order to forecast the occurrence of drought considering that when the surface temperature drops by at least 5 degrees Celsius, then drought will surely occur in the country until May this year.
She added based on the current indicators, the weather situation in the country is still normal but there is a big possibility that drought will happen anytime depending on the latest developments that can happen in the surface temperature within the next few weeks where there will be changes as a result of the change in the prevailing weather system.