With the onset of the El Niño, the town of La Trinidad, Benguet has been extending help to its farmers to be ready for the impact of the dry season.
Municipal Agricultural Officer Nida Organo said the local government unit has distributed a total of 300 units of rainwater catchment to farmers from its various barangays.
Organo said the farmer recipients are from rain-fed areas, particularly in Upper and Lower Wangal, Puguis, Beckel, Tawang, Shilan, and Alno, among other barangays.
She said they have also budgeted additional units of rainwater catchment to be distributed to more farmers in the town. The catchment unit is only a water reservoir and does not yet have a filtration system.
“That would be our next project, for us to upgrade these rainwater catchment units and make it into a system to include the filtration process,” Organo said.
She acknowledged with only the rainwater catchment unit, it would not be enough to pass the good agricultural practice (GAP) standard.
As for the farmers operating at the Strawberry Farm, she said the rehabilitation of the irrigation in the area, which was funded by the National Irrigation Administration, is underway.
The rehabilitation includes the repair of the distribution tanks and sources of water so it would be disseminated to intended farms at barangays Pico, Puguis, and Betag.
Pagasa has declared on July 4 the start of the El Niño phenomenon in the tropical Pacific and its effects are now expected in the Philippines.
Aside from the abnormal warming of sea surface temperature in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, the El Niño phenomenon is characterized by below-normal rainfall. – Ofelia C. Empian