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May 2024

DA taps 1M rice farmers to use water-saving tech amid El Niño

DEALING WITH EL NIÑO. A rice field in Negros Occidental in this undated photo. The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Friday (Feb. 16, 2024) said it has tapped more than 1 million farmers to use water-saving technology amid the El Niño phenomenon. (File photo courtesy of PIO Negros Occidental).

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) said Friday it has tapped more than 1 million farmers to utilize water-saving technology amid the El Niño phenomenon.

In a news release, DA Assistant Secretary for Operations U-Nichols Manalo said this strategy would be implemented to assist farmers tilling 15,000 hectares of rice farms, in compliance with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s directive to ensure water security to mitigate the impact of El Niño on the country.

“AWD (Alternate Wetting and Drying) is a water-saving technology that rice farmers can apply to reduce their water use in irrigated fields,” he said.

Besides AWD, the Quick Turnaround (QTA) strategy will also be used on more than 26,000 hectares.

“QTA is a strategy wherein all rice farms after harvest shall quickly replant immediately without waiting for the months of the succeeding planting season to begin,” Manalo said.

To date, replanting has begun in more than 5,500 hectares of rice farms in the country, according to the DA.

The Task Force El Niño, meanwhile, is set to extend aid to 4,000 farmers in Western Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula who have been affected by the weather phenomenon.

Besides the distribution of seeds for alternative crops, repairs in irrigation canals, as well as cloud seeding operations will be conducted.

Created under Executive Order 53, the government’s Task Force El Niño is chaired by the Department of National Defense and co-chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology, with the DA and the departments of environment and health, and the National Economic and Development Authority as members. (PNA) QR Code

Published Date: February 16, 2024

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