Philippine agriculture

Cebu City prepares agricultural sector for El Niño

John Sitchon

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Cebu City prepares agricultural sector for El Niño

CROPS. The Cebu City government is preparing aid to 12,000 farmers registered with the city agriculture department as it braces for the impact of the El Niño.

Cebu Agriculture Department

The Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office has three water tankers on active rotation to some of the city's 28 mountain barangays

​​CEBU, Philippines – From solar-powered water pumps to stockpiles of seeds, Cebu City’s Agriculture Department (CAD) will tap its P200-million 2023 budget to prepare 12,000 farmers registered with it for El Niño.

There is a 55% chance that El Niño would happen sometime in July, Engineer Alfredo Quiblat, the Visayas Regional Services Division Chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), told the MyTV Cebu media forum.

“We expect this dry hot season from 33 to 35 degrees Celsius. So, slightly higher than for the past three years,” Quiblat said.

Since 2020, the Philippines has experienced La Niña, associated with more rain than hot weather. 

On March 10, PAGASA declared the end of La Niña. On March 21, the government weather bureau officially declared the start of the dry, hot season.

Mayor Mike Rama on Tuesday, March 28 signed Directive No. 03282023-01. He ordered the adoption of measures to ensure livestock and poultry preservation, enhance agricultural production, and boost support for farmers. 

 “We need to secure the ready flow of agricultural and other food products into our city as our way to anticipate the impact of El Niño and the other challenges we now face,” the mayor said.

City Agriculturist Joey Baclayon said they have already allocated assistance for farmers.

Baclayon said the local government would provide farmers with agriculture supplies, including seeds, fertilizers, and irrigation systems.

Evading water scarcity

Some barangays and government offices have already asked for additional water supply, said Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) head Harold Alcontin. 

“Nagsige na ta og distribution, muhatag ta og tubig nila,” Alcontin said. (We have been conducting distributions, giving them water.)

The CCDRRMO has three water tankers on active rotation in these affected areas.

Alcontin said majority of the barangays requesting water are located in upland areas like Talamban, Kalunasan, and Lahug.

The city has 28 mountain barangays with around 12,000 farmers registered with the CAD.

“Ang atong Bureau of Jail Management and Penology [in Cebu City], nicommunicate na sila nato nga unta magparegular sila og pahatag,” Alcontin added.

(Our Bureau of Jail Management and Penology communicated, asking to be regular recipients.)

Government officials, experts, and stakeholders met at the Cebu Water Summit to discuss measures to address the rising water crisis.

Baclayon said the CAD would ask for additional budget for aid if scientists indicate a prolonged El Niño.


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