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Pangasinan farmers brace for La Niña

/ 05:38 AM June 18, 2016

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Farmers in Pangasinan province are preparing for floods that may be unleashed by the anticipated La Niña phenomenon, after surviving the prolonged drought brought by the El Niño.

Dalisay Moya, provincial agriculturist, said farmers in the province’s low-lying communities were advised against planting during the flood months of July and August.

Moya said farmers were also advised to use what he said were “smart” varieties of palay “such as the submarine and floating” types.

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The province has some 180,000 hectares of irrigated and rain-fed rice fields, making it the Ilocos region’s top rice producer and the third biggest in the country.

Oftociano Manalo, president of the Pangasinan Federation of Irrigators Associations, said his group had met with National Irrigation Administration officials to come up with measures to prepare for La Niña.

Manalo said members of his group agreed to work together and monitor the irrigation canals.

“We have to make sure that the steel gates are working and the water flow will not cause flooding in our farms,” he said.

In an advisory issued on June 10, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said El Niño had continued to weaken, increasing the probability for La Niña to develop.

El Niño is characterized by the warming of the ocean that reduces rainfall while La Niña cools seawater that often increases rainfall. Many parts of the country, including Pangasinan, received “near to above normal” rainfall in May, Pagasa reported.

Moya said while El Niño was felt in the country for six months, it did not cripple Pangasinan farmers because the provincial government had built 183 shallow tube wells in rain-fed areas and repaired 32 communal irrigation systems.

The provincial government also provided farmers with over 6,000 bags of certified and high quality palay seeds and 600 water pumps.

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In Kalinga, operators of the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (Ucris) cut water supply for six weeks to correct defects in the repair of a main canal that was damaged when Typhoon “Ineng” struck the province in August last year. Gabriel Cardinoza and Johanne Margarette Macob, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: Agriculture, El Niño, La Niña, Philippines, Regions
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