CORN, climbing vegetables, and high-value crops are the most vulnerable to the El Niño weather phenomenon, according to the Department of Agriculture in Davao Region (DA-Davao) on January 24.

Joedel Leliza, focal person for the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction of DA-Davao, said the crops are vulnerable since they are rain-fed agriculture crops that mostly rely on rainwater, thus will need immediate interventions if El Niño does occur.

Based on the climate outlook of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in Mindanao, there is an increasing probability, or around 50 to 70 percent that it may take place after June or during the latter half of 2023.

Leliza said they have to determine first which areas will be affected since the effects of El Niño manifest on the crops around two to three months.

Particularly, the DA-Davao will consider and monitor both the non-vulnerable and vulnerable areas and crops. Non-vulnerable areas will focus to increase production while vulnerable areas will need immediate responses against El Niño, such as cloud seeding, to avoid damage.

“In case there is damage at the vulnerable areas, mahulipan sa non-vulnerable areas (the non-vulnerable areas can fill in),” Leliza said.

With this, the focal person said DA-Davao is preparing to provide interventions against the dry El Niño season, which includes buffer stocking of seeds in case of rehabilitation for damaged crops, pesticides, spring development for high-value crops, and open surface pumps for corn.

“50 to 70 percent pa lang naman ang probability (The probability is still 50 to 70 percent). Pagasa will update us kung meron na talaga (if it is confirmed)," Leliza said. ICM