Plant drought-resistant crops in Cagayan – DA

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TUGUEGARAO CITY: To mitigate the effects of the prolonged dry season, the Department of Agriculture (DA) for Region 2 is urging farmers to plant “drought resistant crops” as alternatives to rice and corn.

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DA regional technical director Orlando Lorenzana said on Monday that almost all areas in the Cagayan Valley are suffering from the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

The weather phenomenon has delayed the planting time for rice, corn and vegetable.

“Thus, we are encouraging farmers to plant drought resistant crops such as cassava, purple yam and other root crops as these do not need a large volume of water to survive,” Lorenzana said.

DA officials said the agency have distributed 100,000 cassava cuttings to some 100 farmers tilling about 80 hectares for the cassava plantation in the province of Cagayan.

Lorenzana said the DA also distributed assorted vegetable seeds to some farmers which could provide an alternative food supply to their families.

“We are ready to distribute seeds subsidy to affected farmers once there will be enough water supply to irrigate the rice fields,” he said.

Meanwhile, four spring development projects and a small water reservoir to help supply water for the rice and high-value commercial crop fields are being undertaken, according to the DA.

Earlier, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) advised residents of the Cagayan Valley to prepare for the El Niño phenomenon.

Pagasa officials said the El Niño was expected to hit the country in June and it may persist in the next nine months.

Weather experts forecast that the onset of El Niño last month may peak during the last quarter of 2014 and may last up to the first quarter of 2015.

Pagasa officials also said climate models predict that this condition may persist until February 2014.

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