DA assures public of ample rice supply despite looming El Nino phenomenon

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) allayed public fears on Friday on the possible effects of a looming El Nino phenomenon on rice production, stressing the necessary preparations were made to counter the impact of the dry spell.

In a press briefing at Malacañang, Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian said measures have been put into place to mitigate the effects of the dry spell on food production.

During the Palace briefing, reporters raised the concern of some farmers of possible crisis in rice production and agriculture as a result of El Niño phenomenon.

“Naghahanda naman kami sa Department of Agriculture kaya lang ako I had experience several El Niño and I’ve also found solutions to El Niño. Mayroon positive and negative na effect ang El Niño,” Sebastian told the reporters.

He explained the DA is conducting an assessment of areas that could be negatively or positively affected by the dry spell.

“The areas that were be affected negatively doon lang kami gumawa ng mga measures to mitigate the effect, but those areas will have positive effect, iyong positive effect kasi ng El Niño ay iyong maganda iyong solar radiation, iyong init ng araw na nagpapataas ng ani,” Sebastian said.

According to Sebastian, there are areas in the Philippines that produce very high palay yield even during the El Niño. He added the DA is focusing on those areas to optimize its intervention and increase production.

“So, hopefully maba-balance out iyong negative at saka iyong positive at kung successful tayo, we may even gain from those areas we’re will have positive effect of El Niño.” he said.

Last month, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. ordered government agencies to prepare for the possible impact of the El Niño phenomenon, which is expected to hit the country in the last quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2024.

The President also instructed various agencies to ensure “protocol-based and scientific” long-term solutions to the impending problem and for them to come up with a campaign to generate public awareness on water and energy conservation.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said last month that the probability of the occurrence of El Nino is 80 percent for the months of June, July, and August, and 86 percent for the months of November, December and January although the country may experience heavy rainfall events prior to its impact.

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