PhilRice official urges creation of La Nina Task Force
This early, an official of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is calling for the creation of a special task force to help farmers brace for the La Nina weather phenomenon that is expected to follow El Nino, the extreme dry spell.
In a statement released today, PhilRice Midsayap acting branch Sailila E. Abdula said preparations for La Nina must start immediately, with PhilRice now recommending that farmers plant flood-tolerant rice varieties such as NSIC RC222.
“This task force shall identify the respective roles of each agency in facilitating campaign strategies and providing technical assistance especially for farmers in areas expected to be heavily hit by the calamity,” Abdula said.
The Food and Agriculture Organization had said the El Nino phenomenon is weakening but warned of the oncoming La Nina which is characterized by heavy rains and floods.
The SOCCSKSARGEN regional office of the agriculture department estimates the damage to agriculture from the El Nino phenomenon at P1.05 billion. It also embarked on an outreach program in Midsayap, North Cotabato last month when it distributed rice to farmers there.
Before the El Nino hit, PhilRice said it had already issued warnings and tips to farmers on how to cope with the drought. (By: Eileen A. Mencias)