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Agriculture department implements water management strategy for El Nińo

Author: DA-AFID | 14 July 2023

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has put in place water management strategies as part of its adaptation and mitigation efforts on the effects of the El Nino phenomenon on agricultural production.

One of the strategies that DA is campaigning for is the rainwater harvesting or the collection and storage of rain, rather than letting it run off.

With an average rainfall volume of 2,348 millimeters, the DA encourages food producers to take the opportunity to stock rainwater for future use.

Aside from this, the DA is also implementing other water management projects including the improvement of irrigation canals and other small scale irrigation projects. It is also banking on the Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) technology, which relatively uses much less water. AWD is the controlled and intermittent release of irrigation water.

Other mitigation projects that are underway is the replacement of unserviceable pump and engine sets.

“These are just some of the measures that the government has been doing early on to prevent production losses due to the dry spells that El Niño entails,” DA’s National El Niño Team (DA-NENT) chairman U-Nichols Manalo said.

Director Manalo added that DA has been working closely with operating units under the Department to address the possible effects of the El Niño.

With the latest advisory related to the presence of El Niño in the Tropical Pacific, weather experts expect unusual warming of sea surface temperatures, which may lead to the strengthening of the abnormal weather phenomenon in the coming months.

As such, the likelihood of below-normal rainfall is anticipated, causing dry spells and droughts in some areas of the country.

However, with the enhanced Southwest monsoon season or Habagat, the western part of the Philippines may still get above-normal rainfall.

“We are constantly coordinating with different bureaus and agencies under DA so we can come up with a unified strategy to help our food producers improve production and increase income even during the possible drought,” Manalo said.

The DA is the lead agency tasked to ensure the food security agenda under an inter-agency task force which includes the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), Labor and Employment (DOLE), Interior and Local Government (DILG), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Energy (DOE) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA). Other cooperating agencies are the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development under the Department of Science and Technology and the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation under the Department of Finance.

Early this week, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announced that his administration is set to release an El Niño Mitigation Plan to be shared to the public and enable them to take part in national actions to cushion the effects of the said weather phenomenon.  ### (Adora D. Rodriguez, DA-AFID/photo by Rita dela Cruz, NFRDI) 

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