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“El Niño” downs rice yield in SurSur

SURIGAO DEL SUR, Philippines – The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG) here, which played host to this week’s Monday flag ceremony program, bared the agriculture sector had suffered from the mild effects of El Niño phenomenon in 2015.
Marcos Quico, provincial agriculturist, told capitol employees palay harvest did not turn that good, citing climate change, particularly El Niño, as culprit.
By presenting a comparative data planted with rice in 2014 and 2015, production per metric ton (MT) was said to have gone down significantly, pointing out that during the previous year, 2014, a total of 33,701 hectares were reported to have been planted as compared to only 31,059 hectares in 2015.
As a result, Quico said, the province had posted a “-6.84 percent growth rate (GR),” showing production at 112,493 MT in 2014 as against 104,794 MT in 2015.
“We expect that we will be having shortfall of supply in the next months. The only advantage we have—because we have a ‘seesaw’ harvesting in Surigao del Sur. While the central (part) is resting, the Carcanmadcarlan area (five clusters of municipalities in the north) is harvesting,” explained the chief agriculturist.
Rice fields in the province are classified only as “irrigated and rainfed,” the former somewhat doubling the area of the latter.
As broken down, the irrigated and rainfed areas planted/harvested in 2014 were at 22,404 and 11,297 hectares as compared to 20,164 and 10,895 hectares, respectively, in 2015
On the other hand, the chief agriculturist allayed fears of rice shortage.
Referring to worst scenario, he assured that this would not take place unless rice production could go down to as much as 50 percent.
During that occasion, Quico also disclosed plans of seeing Governor Johnny Pimentel and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan members for a consultation.
“We are intending to report this to the Sanggunian and to the governor so that we can also suggest some mitigation to, at least, cushion the impact of the dry spell,” he said.
Last year, Quico had said many times over that mitigating measures had been in place here even before mild El Niño had taken its toll on the farm sector.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.