February 22, 2024

Department of Agriculture-Cordillera continues to recommend proactive measures to lessen the impacts of El Niño and achieve climate resiliency.

Among the recommendations of the agency to farmers is for them to assess the vulnerabilities in their farming areas and operations so they can determine the areas that may be most affected.

By understanding their vulnerabilities, farmers will be able to prioritize where to focus their efforts and invest their resources effectively by mitigating risks and developing contingency plans to help ensure the resilience and sustainability of their operations.

The DA said keeping an eye on the latest weather forecasts and El Niño predictions in the region will help farmers anticipate potential changes in weather conditions like rainfall patterns and weather extremes, allowing them to plan and adjust strategies to help them better prepare for the potential effect of El Niño.

To mitigate the adverse effects that drought and reduced rains can bring during El Niño, farmers must optimize use and reduce water wastage through efficient water usage practices such as rainwater collection, drip irrigation, and mulching which can contribute to conserving water and minimizing the impact of water scarcity.

The diversification of crops by selecting crop varieties suitable for specific weather conditions which opt for higher tolerance to water scarcity or excess water but still produce yields can reduce the risk of crop failure, increase the chances of a successful harvest, open new market opportunities, and reduce dependence on a single crop.

The DA-Cordillera also recommends enhancing climate resilience and productivity of the farmer’s operations by adapting to new technologies and implementing climate-smart procedures or solutions that are simple and reliable and are proven to reduce post-harvest losses and protect quality.

Based on the Dec. 18, 2023 Meteorological Dry Spell/Drought Condition Outlook issued by Pagasa, Abra, Ifugao, and Mountain Province will be under a dry spell condition by the end of January, while Benguet, Kalinga, and Apayao will experience drought conditions.

Drought conditions are described as having below-normal rainfall conditions experienced in five successive months, while way-below-normal rainfall is experienced in three successive months.

The Cordillera is expected to experience drought conditions from February to April. – Jonathan Llanes