The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has adopted several measures to mitigate the impact of the current El Niño. These include the implementation of the Quick Turn Around Scheme, which promoted the planting of the 2015 first crop immediately after the harvest of 2014 second crop; adaptation of water saving technologies; a water distribution rotation; and rain water harvesting. NIA has also encouraged farmers to plant early-maturing rice varieties and drought-tolerant rice varieties to save on water.
“It was reported to us that most of Luzon has had a good harvest because of the adjusting of the planting season. By the time the driest months arrived, it was already time for harvest. But despite this good news, the dry spell has affected most of Mindanao and the rest of the country- that is why we continue our efforts in mitigating the effects of El Nino,” said Sec. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization and Chairman of the National Irrigation Board.
For irrigated agricultural lands, the Department of Agriculture has been coordinating with the NIA for better management of agricultural waters. Information, education and communication activities have also been conducted among farmers to employ water-saving techniques such as synchronous planting, which makes irrigation more efficient.
Cloud seeding operations are being conducted in the watershed areas of Angat, Magat and Pantabangan dams and other areas with standing crops that need irrigation water.
These measures are being undertaken in coordination with Bureau of Soils and Water Management, National Power Corporation, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, National Water Resources Board, Philippine Air Force, PAG-ASA and other concerned agencies.
“The government is not taking this El Niño situation sitting down and we will continue to assess and implement appropriate measures to lessen its impact on our yields and our farmers,” Pangilinan ended.