MANILA, Philippines - The ongoing El Niño phenomenon will not be a threat to palay production in the last quarter of the year, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Agriculture Assistant Secretary and National Rice Program Coordinator Dante Delima said based on field monitoring and consultations with the weather bureau, the developing dry spell is expected to be "non-destructive."
Delima added that despite the El Niño, the production target of 18.46 million metric tons (MT) for 2012 may still be achieved.
"The effect, as we see it, will be very mild," Delima said.
El Niño impact averted
In September, Delima ordered all regional field units to assess the possible impact of El Niño in their areas. The directive came on the heels of the weather bureau's warning that the drought will be felt in Visayas and Mindanao.
The first signs of drought were observed, however, in the province of Bohol, which experienced below average rainfall.
The government immediately conducted cloud seeding operations to prevent crop damage.
"Bohol has already recovered because of cloud seeding operations," the DA official said.
Agriculture Secretary Processo Alcala earlier said the El Niño phenomenon will put pressure on rice and corn production this year if it lasts for a prolonged period of time. He said, however, that it will be beneficial if it occurs briefly.
"If drought is lesser, sometimes it proves to be beneficial because of the high level of photosynthesis combined with adequate water supply. With this combination, it can lead to higher palay yield," Alcala said.
Palay output for the fourth quarter is expected to exceed the production target of 6.36 million MT or 7% more than last year’s 5.94 million MT due to the third cropping scheme. - Rappler.com
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