GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The city government here has set some interventions to ease the impact of the drought on crops.
Merlinda Donasco, chief of the City Agriculture Office, said Thursday their office, as directed by City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, is currently distributing vegetable seeds among local farmers to augment their food supplies during the period.
“They can grow vegetables as alternative crop and even in their backyards for consumption,” Donasco said in a radio interview.
She added that the local government will provide assistance to the affected farmers in terms of planting materials and other inputs once the regular planting season resumes in May.
Donasco noted that they are closely monitoring upland farms in several barangays here due to the onslaught of the dry spell brought about by the El Niño weather phenomenon.
At least 99 hectares of farmlands are currently planted with various crops, mostly corn, which are at risk of wilting due to the intense dry weather.
Donasco said the standing crops are monitored in parts of barangays Batomelong, Conel, Bawing, Upper Labay, Sinawal, Tinagacan, San Jose, and Olympog.
“These are mostly in upland areas and mainly depend on rain for irrigation,” she said.
The city and the neighboring areas have been experiencing below normal rainfall in the past several weeks due to the El Niño.
Donasco said they advised local farmers as early as December to refrain from planting corn and other crops, following an advisory regarding the drought from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
Citing the advisory, she said the drought will intensify during the first quarter of the year and would last until April.
The official said they immediately launched a series of information drives among local farmers regarding the situation.
However, she said some farmers ignored their advice and still gambled on planting their fields.
Donasco said they have assigned agriculture technicians to monitor these farms and immediately report possible damages due to the dry spell. (PNA)