MANILA - The Department of Agriculture on Friday said it has prepared to counter the impact of the looming El Niño phenomenon on rice production.
Measures have been put in place to mitigate the effects of the dry spell on food production, Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian said in a Malacañang press briefing.
An agriculture group earlier warned that El Niño may lead to a rice crisis in the country, as rice-producing areas suffer dry spells or outright droughts.
Sebastian, however, said El Niño may also have a positive effect on other rice-producing areas, and that the DA is assessing areas that could be negatively or positively affected.
“The areas that were be affected negatively doon lang kami gumawa ng mga measures to mitigate the effect, but those areas will have positive effect, iyong positive effect kasi ng El Niño ay iyong maganda iyong solar radiation, iyong init ng araw na nagpapataas ng ani,” Sebastian said.
Some areas produce very high palay yields even during El Niño, he said, and the DA is focusing on those areas to optimize its intervention and increase production.
“So, hopefully, maba-balance out iyong negative at saka iyong positive at kung successful tayo, we may even gain from those areas where [it] will have [a] positive effect of El Niño.”
The El Niño phenomenon, which reduces rainfall in many areas in the Philippines, is expected to hit the country in the last quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2024.