THE Department of Agriculture - Davao Region (DA-Davao) will allocate a total of P1 billion for its El Niño Plan for 2023 until the first quarter of 2024.

“[DA-Davao] drafted our El Niño Action Plan, earlier this year in preparation for the impending El Niño. So we have a total of around [P]1 billion worth of projects under the Department of Agriculture,” Joedel Leliza, DA-Davao El Niño focal person, said during the AgriBiz Forum at SM Lanang Premier, May 30.

Leliza said the fund will be divided by DA-Davao for their preparatory activities, maximization and optimization of non-vulnerable El Niño areas, and saving the vulnerable to El Niño areas through early response activities.

“When we say early response, this includes water management, drugs and biologics for our livestock, for our affected provinces like Davao del Sur, Davao City, and the cloud seeding operation,” Leliza said.

As for maximization and optimization of non-vulnerable El Niño areas, DA-Davao will be allocating P971 million to multiply their production in case there will be a shortage.

“Doon tayo mag focus nung ating core ng ating [maximization and optimization] project para ma-maximize yung production nila, para ma-replenish yung mawala, in case, na naapektuhan ‘yung mga vulnerable areas,” Leliza said.

DA-Davao is also set to procure P24 million worth of buffer stocking of corn seeds, corn, rice, and high-value crops.

DA-Davao will be prioritizing vulnerable areas identified by their historical data such as in Davao Del Sur, Davao City, and in Davao del Norte.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) recorded 373,275 farmers in Davao Region, in which Davao del Norte has 90,190, Davao del Sur has 68,437, while Davao City has 29,986.

Leliza said that the region has a farmland of around 40,000 hectares which they are “closely monitoring”.

In a previous interview, DA-Davao public relations officer Celso Vergara said that the buffer stocking and biologic support fund is being allocated by DA-Davao to local farmers annually.

“[The fund will also be there] kung kailangan nila mag-replant (if they need to replant for El Niño),” Vergara said. ICE