Negros Occidental Fights El Niño to Safeguard Agriculture
OpinYon Panay

Negros Occidental Fights El Niño to Safeguard Agriculture

Jan 6, 2024, 12:30 AM
OpinYon Panay News Team

OpinYon Panay News Team


As the specter of the El Niño phenomenon looms over Negros Occidental, the provincial government is demonstrating commendable foresight and preparedness in its response to protect the vital agricultural sector. With the El Niño effects expected to persist until the second quarter of 2024, the Negros Occidental provincial government, under the leadership of Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II, is gearing up for a focused and strategic approach to mitigate the potential impacts on farmers.

The El Niño alert issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration last May warned of below-normal rainfall conditions, posing a threat of dry spells and droughts in specific areas of the country. In response, Negros Occidental is taking proactive measures to safeguard its agricultural landscape, particularly focusing on "productive and already irrigated lands" to ensure a stable rice supply for the province.

According to Diaz, the provincial government has identified areas where water can be impounded in rice-producing local government units, a strategic move to counter the adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon. The procurement of 30 sets of water pumps with pipes to distribute water supply to the irrigation system from impounding sites is a crucial step in fortifying the province's resilience against potential water scarcity.

The targeted assistance is set to benefit rice farmers under the Federation of Irrigators’ Association of Central Negros-Bago River Irrigation System, encompassing areas such as Bago City, La Carlota City, Valladolid, Pulupandan, and San Enrique. Bago City, recognized as the "rice bowl of Negros Occidental," plays a pivotal role, contributing more than 30 percent of the province's total rice production.

Administrator Diaz exudes confidence in the province's readiness to face the challenges posed by the El Niño phenomenon, citing the farmers' assurance that they are well-prepared to meet the impending difficulties head-on. The province's proactive stance, backed by a PHP15 million funding allocation for El Niño response, underscores a commitment to securing the livelihoods of local farmers.

The imminent delivery and distribution of materials and equipment funded by the allocated budget mark a crucial step in the province's preparedness plan. Diaz emphasizes the urgency of deployment to pre-identified areas, signaling a swift and well-coordinated response to address the potential consequences of El Niño.

Negros Occidental's proactive and strategic response to the El Niño phenomenon stands as a testament to the commitment of the provincial government to safeguarding the agricultural backbone of the region. By focusing on productive and irrigated lands, implementing water-impounding measures, and allocating resources for prompt action, the province is preparing for challenges and setting an example for proactive climate resilience in the face of unpredictable weather patterns. (OpinyonPanay News Team

PHOTOCAPTION: A ricefield in Bago City, Negros Occidental. (PNA Bacolod file photo)

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