August 12, 2007

Research groups to farmers: Be prepared for dry spell

ALAMINOS CITY, Pangasinan—Various research agencies linked with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources and Development (PCARRD), a sectoral council under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has warned farmers to be prepared for a more prolonged dry spell as they cited possible effects of the abnormal weather condition.

“Based on the rainfall data, it appears that there is a water crisis in Northern Luzon,” Dr. Miriam Pascua, chair of the Ilocos Agriculture Resources Research and Development Consortium in Region I, said.

The abnormal weather condition, wherein the prolonged dry spell has taken the place of what should be the rainy season now, has prompted the declaration of a state of calamity for the provinces of La Union and Ilocos Norte.

With the prolonged dry spell, Pascua said the science community has been mandated to look for ways and means to help farmers mitigate the effect of this weather phenomenon.

“We advice our farmers to modify their planting calendar and to plant alternative crop varieties to mitigate the effects of [the] dry spell,” Pascua said as she enjoined various research groups under ILARRDEC to develop science and technology researches geared towards sustainable agriculture and economic development.

Pascua made this statement during the launch of the PCARRD Media Partnership program held in this city to strengthen their partnership with science and agriculture journalists in delivering highly adoptable technologies to local farmers in the countryside.

Dubbed “Technologies to People (T2P),” the program, organized jointly by PCCARD, ILARRDEC and the Alaminos City government, aims to popularize technology researches that could be adopted by end-users to shore up their income.

Among these programs include sustainable technologies on kawayan (bamboo), goat, mango, ube and beekeeping.

In a related development, the DOST raised the alarm to alert farmers on the possible effects of drought that may affect agriculture, water resources, power and health.

The science department particularly recommends several short-term and long-term measures to mitigate this unusual dry spell which has now lasted from June to the present.

Among these include: optimum water allocation; water supply distribution such as valving operations, setting up of stationary and mobile water tanks and chlorination to ensure water quality; cloud seeding operations; repair of dikes; adoption of water-impounding projects and shallow tube wells; water conservation; utilization of drought-resistant crop varieties; and massive information and dissemination campaign to increase farmers’ awareness on the issue of the prolonged dry spell.

In Ilocos Norte, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) based in Batac City issued advisories addressed to local farmers reiterating alternate wetting and drying technology to save farmlands which were planted earlier.

“Saan a nasisita a kanayon nga adda danum ti pagtatalunan. Kadagiti daga a pangersangen (coarse soil), agpadanum kada pito nga aldaw. Kadagiti met napigket a daga (clay soil), agpadanum iti kada 10 nga aldaw. Siguraduen nga adda apagsalapasap a danum iti talon ti tiempo ti panaginaw (panicle initiation) ken panagsabong (flowering) ti pagay. Isardeng metten ti panagpadanum 1-2 a lawas sakbay ti panaggapas,” PhilRice noted it is bulletin.

As to rain-dependent areas, PhilRice recommends alternative crops such as drought-resistant vegetables like beans to ensure good harvest even with the absence of sufficient rain this planting season.

Leilanie G. Adriano

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