Rice farmers in Western Visayas are advised to plant early or use heat-resistant crops as preparation for the El Niño phenomenon expected in the last quarter of 2023.
In an interview on Wednesday, the Department of Agriculture (DA) officer in charge Regional Executive Director Engr. Albert Barrogo said the lack of water will probably persist longer as the dry season will continue from January to May 2024.
Barrogo said they will be convening their regional technical working group to issue an advisory on the planting calendar and for local government units to adapt to climate change.
“One of our suggestions is for farmers to conduct early planting, especially in areas that are irrigated,” he said, adding that the planting season in the region usually begins in May or June.
Data from the DA Regional Agri-Fisheries Information Section showed that 44 percent of the region’s 322,000 hectares of rice areas are irrigated.
Barrogo said they are positioning available seeds to be provided to farmers and hoping to release these earlier so they can start planting in the last week of April or the first week of May.
He added that aside from palay, farmers are also encouraged to plant cash crops or roots crops that are resistant to heat.
He also urged farmers to visit their research center in Barangay Hamungaya in the Jaro district to learn technologies to be used to improve their farming. (PNA)