NEGROS OCCIDENTAL GEARS UP TO CUSHION EFFECTS OF EL NIÑO
DRY SPELL. A parched land in a southern Negros town in early 2016 as a result of prolonged dry spell in the province. (File photo from OPA-Negros Occidental)
BACOLOD CITY — The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) is gearing up to cushion possible effects of the El Niño weather phenomenon on crops in Negros Occidental.
“The province is initiating ways to mitigate its effects, such as cloud seeding,” Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said Thursday.
He added that the OPA is also eyeing the acquisition of water and irrigation pumps for farmers and has been monitoring the weather situation since last year as part of its preparations.
El Niño, characterized by unusually warm ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific (CEEP), could affect the normal rainfall pattern in the country, generally resulting in reduced rainfall.
In 2016, the OPA reported dry spell damage and losses of about PHP470 million in the agro-fishery sector of Negros Occidental.
In its El Niño Advisory No. 1 issued on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) reported that climate monitoring and analyses indicate that the unusually warm sea surface temperatures in the CEEP, which began in November last year, is expected to become a full-blown El Niño.
The weather pattern is “anticipated to be weak and will likely result in below normal rainfall conditions in different parts of the country in the coming months,” it added.
“All concerned agencies and the general public are advised to take precautionary measures to mitigate the potential adverse impacts of El Niño. PAGASA will closely monitor these conditions and regular updates and advisories shall be issued as appropriate,” the agency further said. (PNA)