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El Nino? No problem, says DA By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) Updated November 04, 2012 12:00 AM MANILA, Philippines - The El Niño weather phenomenon, which is expected to be felt at the end of the year, is no longer deemed destructive to crops, 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 El Nino is expected to be non-destructive. “The effect, as we see it, will be very mild,” he said. Sometime during the third quarter of the year, the first signs of drought were felt in the province of Bohol which experienced below average rainfall. Cloud seeding was promptly conducted to prevent crop damage. In September, Delima ordered all regional field units to assess the possible effect of the developing El Nino in their jurisdictions. The weather bureau warned that the drought would be felt in the Visayas and Mindanao. “Bohol has already recovered because of cloud seeding operations,” said Delima. Agriculture Secretary Processo Alcala earlier said the El Nino phenomenon would put pressure on rice and corn production this year if it lasts for a prolonged period of time but would be beneficial if it lasts for only a short period. “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,” he said. Palay output for the fourth quarter is expected to exceed the production target of 6.36 million MT, seven percent higher than last year’s output of 5.94 million MT because of the ongoing third cropping scheme. Delima said the production target of 18.46 million MT for 2012 may still be achieved. The DA’s National Corn Program, meanwhile, is keeping its production target of 7.8 million metric tons (MT) for 2012 – from last year’s output of 6.97 million MT – at a sufficiency level of 98 percent. Corn production for the second semester is expected to reach 3.99 million MT based on third quarter standing crop and planting intentions of farmers in the fourth quarter. For 2013, the government intends to raise corn yield to 8.4 million MT. By next year, the government aims to attain a sufficiency level of 101 percent with a surplus of 149,000 MT.

2012 11 04 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor

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