Enough rice, corn, water in CV in next two months

03/10/10 - CEBU, Philippines - The advent of El Niño has greatly affected the supply of food and water in many areas in the country, but the Department of Agriculture said residents in Region 7 have no reason to panic, as there will be enough supply of rice, corn, and water here until June.
Tomasita Cadungog, chief agriculturist of DA 7, said the effects of El Niño here are not as bad as those experienced by other places wherein water supply has reduced and crops have started to die.
Cadungog said that because El Niño is only declared at an area without rain for five months, as per classification by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration, Central Visayas is but considered only “slightly affected” by the phenomenon. An area also experiences a dry spell if it experiences no rain for three months straight.
Cadungog said that in the southern town of Argao, crops are still growing “vigorously.” The northern part of the island, however, is feeling slight effects of El Niño with plants turning brown or wiling in up to 25 percent of area. There are also areas moderately experiencing the phenomenon with 26 to 50 percent of their production affected by vegetation turning yellow to brown.
In Region 7, a total of 314 hectares of areas planted with rice are slightly affected while 198 hectares are moderately affected. Areas planted with corn, with 7,159 hectares in Cebu, have 7,309 hectares slightly affected and 178 hectares moderately affected. In Cebu, 65 hectares are moderately affected.
Meanwhile, 77 hectares of vegetable areas in the region are moderately affected and 113 hectares are slightly affected.
Cadungog explained that since the last El Niño episode in the country, they have already identified certain portions in the region and in Cebu that are more prone to drought, which helped them become more ready for this dry season.
In fact, she said that they have provided different aids for the farmers, most especially that rice and corn production are their main sources of livelihood.
Cadungog said that under their rice program, they have helped farmers in restoration and rehabilitation and distributed drought resistance rice that survives during drought. Corn, high value commercial stock and livelihood programs are also being distributed and implement with the help of local government units.
Cadungog said that with the current supply and the second batch of crops planted and expected to be harvested soon, the supply of rice and corn in Cebu will be sufficient for the next two months. She, however, said that rain needs to come by June to give sufficient amount of water for the new batch of crops.
As for the water supply for Metro Cebu, Engr. Genaro Mejor, division manager of Metropolitan Cebu Water District production and distribution, said there will be adequate water despite the supply of water from MCWD’s sources having slightly gone down.
Mejor said they already anticipated the reduction of water supply, thus, they have commissioned three wells last year and the service of bulk water suppliers that adds another 4,800 cubic meters and more than 1,300 cubic meter of water coming from the wells in Lagtang, Talisay.
The water supply in Jaclupan has gone down to 18,000 cubic meters from the 42,000 to 45,000 cubic meters it could produce.
Mejor said the additional wells they are working on will be adding up to 50 percent of the total production and demand. Then again, more wells would be needed to provide another 50 percent.
Then again, Mejor said, cooperation from the public in saving water is still needed to survive the dilemma (Freeman)

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