Capitol to address farmer groups’ needs amid El Niño

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Provincial Government of Pampanga headed by Governor Lilia Pineda promised to address the needs of farmer irrigator associations in Pampanga amid the ongoing El Niño, which is foreseen to last until June 2016.

This was the assurance made by Capitol during the El Niño Summit held at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center yesterday that was attended by the officers and members of the 90 irrigator associations of Pampanga.

The summit was also attended by Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Procesco Alcala and other agriculture officials and officers of the National Irrigation Administration.

Pampanga Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) head Angie Blanco said that Governor Pineda has ordered varying assistance for Pampanga irrigators and farmers. She said that they are now propositioning the distribution of shallow tube wells and irrigation pumps to intended beneficiaries.

She added that Pineda had also assured the cleaning of irrigation canals and distribution of 90 tricycle units to the various irrigator associations in Pampanga to help them with their logistical needs.

Governor Pineda herself said that the province is ready to assist the agriculture sector amid the ongoing El Nino. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said that the El Niño is foreseen to last until June 2016.

In an earlier report released by Pagasa, it stated there is a 90 percent chance that the El Niño will last until the early part of 2016 — March, April, or May — and a 70 percent chance that it will last until around June or July.

It could be remembered that DA Regional Director Andrew Villacorta told Sun.Star Pampanga that some 300 additional shallow tube wells are also ready for distribution to municipalities that may be greatly affected by the El Niño.

The DA has also instructed all municipal agriculturists to touch base with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA). This will involve the coordination of plans and efforts as well as a detailed knowledge on the extent of possible effect and damage of the El Niño in their respective localities.

Earlier, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said that areas that depend on the Angat Dam for their water supply may sustain P3.82-billion worth of damages to their agricultural production due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon. The forecast encompasses the dry cropping season until 2016.

Capitol funding, coordination

Pineda stressed that municipal agriculture officers (MAOs) and mayors should coordinate with Capitol regarding the problems and concerns of farmers as Capitol has funding for agriculture.

“Ang nangyayari kasi, hindi nagre-report ng mabuti ang mga MAOs ninyo na marami pala kayong problema at kailangan. May pondo ang Kapitolyo para sa inyo. Kailangan lamang ang tamang ugnayan,” she stressed.

The governor urged MAOs and mayors to directly inform her of farmers’ needs, especially this time of El Niño.

“Tutulungan kayo ng Kapitolyo mula sa pagpresyo ng palay, pagbigay ng diesel at pagpapahiram ng ating bagong walong backhoe na pwedeng gamitin sa irigasyon. Ang nangyayari kasi, pagkausap ko ang mga MAO, sinasabi na walang problema eh ngayon dito sa summit, ang dami pala. Hindi lang ang DA ang dapat lapitan dito. Kausap din ninyo ang Kapitolyo. Kung hindi kaya ng mga MAO ninyo, tayo na lang ang magtrabaho,” Governor Pineda exclaimed, her pronouncements met with loud applause and cheers from the farmers. (With reports from JTD)

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