By NITZ ARANCON
THE effects of the “weak” El Niño phenomenon are already being felt in neighboring Bukidnon, Mindanao’s food basket, and even in some farming villages in this city.
Carlene Collado, director of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in northern Mindanao, confirmed that the heat and the insufficient rainfall have started to hurt farmers in some areas of Bukidnon, including Kibawe.
Collado said the dry weather has started to adversely affect corn farms and ricefields but the agriculture department has yet to assess the extent of the damages. He said he was waiting for an official report from the provincial agriculture office.
The same thing is happening in outlying farming villages in Cagayan de Oro, said city agriculture officer Hector San Juan.
Collado said the DA regional office has instructed other local agriculture offices throughout Region 10 to immediately report exactly how the El Niño has been affecting agriculture in their respective provinces and cities so that the Department could quickly send aid.
He said the agriculture department would be sending water pumps and other equipment to adversely affected areas like Kibawe to help bring the needed water to farms.
“Na-a na may mga water pump nga atong gipanghatag sa mga local government units last year pero kon kulang pa, na-ay atong mga standby nga mga bomba sa tubig nga atong ipahulam kanila aron ilang matubag ang ipikto niining weak El Niño,” Collado said.
The effects of the “weak” El Niño that started last month are expected to be felt at least until June, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
The El Niño phenomenon has been aggravating the warm weather conditions that come with the dry season, said San Juan.
But San Juan said city hall has prepared for the dry season even before Pagasa released its advisory about the El Niño.
He said city hall has prepared water drilling equipment and water pumps which farmers in need of aid can use during the dry season.
San Juan said city hall is also ready to distribute buffer seeds to farmers.
But if the situation worsens, San Juan said, the local government could always ask the help of the national government.
“Naay atong mga ayoda sa city hall alang sa mga apiktadong mga farmers,” San Juan said.