• S. Cotabato revives Task Force El Niño


    COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: The South Cotabato provincial agriculture office in Koronadal City has revived its Task Force El Nino.

    Justina Navarette, OIC provincial agriculture officer, said the task force is composed of agencies that are directly engaged in mitigating the impact of ongoing dry spell, including the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.

    Also, the putting up of shallow tube wells and water-impounding facilities near or around farmlands and corn fields is being prioritized, Navarette emphasized.

    “Cloud seeding is also in the pipeline,” she added.

    Navarette also urged farmers to plant heat-resistant crops outside the regular rice and corn varieties.

    As this developed, Orlando Tibang, NIA-South Cotabato manager, said his office has issued schedule of releases of irrigation water from Banga River Irrigation System, and cropping calendars and pattern to help farmers avoid heavy crop losses.

    Tibang projected that about 50 percent of the Banga Irrigation System will be non-operational during the dry spell.

    Meanwhile, the agriculture regional office based here in Cotabato City said the five provinces of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have not yet felt the impact of the dry spell.

    Dr. Paisal Abdul, the focal person for the Task Force El Nino in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in ARMM, told The Manila Times that El Nino coordinators in the provinces of Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur have yet to file their updates on the impact of dry spell.

    “So far the ARMM provinces are not yet affected by the impact of the El Nino phenomenon,” he said.

    Abdul said there is still frequent rainfall in most of the provinces in ARMM.


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