El Niño update: weather conditions to normalize by July

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has reported that El Niño is weakening. According to the agency, the condition may return to neutral levels by mid-2016May-July season.

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[PAGASA advisory: El Niño gradually weakens]

Notwithstanding, the Department of Agriculture is intensifying its efforts to protect farms and farmers. From January to April this year, the department has already released P310 million to counter the ill effects of El Niño. Measures came in the form of hybrid and certified seeds, fertilizers, soil ameliorants, shallow tube wells, pump equipment, biologics, cloud seeding operations, and crop insurance, among others. The department has also allocated funds for small water impounding projects and diversion dams to complement the efforts of the National Irrigation Administration under the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Food Security.

[Updates on El Niño]

In addition, the DA has given quick response funds to the various regional field offices in the total amount of P207.57 million to rehabilitate farms from the onslaught of El Niño. This amount includes P60 million for Region 2, P9.16 million for Region 9, P21.86 million for Region 7, P14 million for Region 3, P102.4 million for Region 12. Another P31.7 million is allotted to the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao and  set to be released upon the execution of a memorandum of agreement between the DA and ARMM.

On top of the foregoing, the department has released the amount of P848 million to its regional field offices for programmed interventions against El Niño.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has instructed all DA offices to heighten monitoring and validation activities to ensure speedy, timely, and efficient delivery of basic agricultural services to its constituents.

—From the Department of Agriculture