ANAK Mindanao (Amin) party-list is urging the Department of Agriculture (DA) to institute measures to enable the agriculture sector effectively adapt to the El Niño phenomenon.

Amin Representative Ariel C. Hernandez, who hails from Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental, said instituting mitigating measures will not be enough to help the agriculture sector flourish in the midst of a dry spell brought by El Niño.

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“Instead of looking at how we can mitigate the effects of El Niño on the agriculture sector, I think it would be best for the DA to implement measures that will help farmers effectively adapt to any drought or a long dry season, especially here in Mindanao,” he said.

Hernandez said that while teaching farmers how to mitigate the effects of drought is an important component of an effective agriculture plan of action for El Niño, this will still be for the short term.

“We are looking at a long-term solution to this El Niño phenomenon, which greatly affects our country and people. Therefore, I am proposing that the DA, being the lead agency of government ensuring that every Filipino has enough food to eat, should or must put in place interventions like early warning system, subsidize the distribution of drought-resistant seeds and even repair of irrigation facilities,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez, Amin’s first nominee for the May 10 elections, also praised the DA in Northern Mindanao for setting aside funding to help farmers weather the coming dry spell as part of its El Niño Mitigation Plan.

The DA in Northern Mindanao, led by Director Lealyn Ramos, has earmarked at least P149 million to subsidize its El Niño Mitigation Plan to ensure that there will still be enough food despite a drought.

Agriculture Undersecretary Bernie G. Fondevilla recently said Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon are among the provinces that are highly vulnerable to El Niño.

These two provinces are known as Northern Mindanao’s food basket.

“It is our vision in Amin to make our island of Mindanao self-sufficient in terms of food production. And we can only do this by teaching our farmers effectively adapt to whatever challenges they will face, such as the El Niño phenomenon,” Hernandez said.

He also stressed that since the Philippines economy is still basically agriculture-driven, it is imperative that government should strengthen the agriculture sector to make the country self-reliant and reduce its agriculture sector’s vulnerability to risks. (Sun.Star/Press Release)