The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) called on the 31 local government units in Negros Occidental to prepare for the full effects of the El Niño phenomenon in the first quarter of 2024.
Provincial agriculturist Dina Genzola said Sunday, December 10, based on the forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), that the province will experience extreme heat early next year.
"Currently, we are experiencing 'moderate’ El Niño," Genzola said.
She said that OPA has received reports of areas experiencing drought and dying crops.
"It was alleviated by the onset of low pressure area (LPA) and shearline that brought rains to the affected areas," she pointed out.
She added, “We are prepared, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, to distribute drought-resistant crops as alternative livelihood for the farmers in the province when their main crops will be affected by drought.”
Genzola said that they are also preparing for the possible attacks of pests and plant diseases caused by El Niño.
She appealed to Negrense farmers to save water.
Based on data from the OPA, 14,000 hectares of the total 64,000 hectares of agricultural land in Negros Occidental are irrigated.
The provincial government plans to put up mini-dams or catchment areas as part of mitigating measures, Genzola said.
The provincial government has earmarked P15.38 million in initial funding for El Niño preparations.
El Niño will bring in less rain than normal, resulting in a long dry spell or drought.*