Remaining steadfast in addressing the possible negative impact of the prolonged dry spell being experienced by some areas in the region, the Department of Agriculture in Ilocos set-off its Regional Disaster Risk & Reduction Management Office (RDRRMO) for the tightened monitoring of reported El Niño affected areas.

DA-RFO I’s Field Operations Service in the region is pro-actively addressing the concerns of the affected farmers as it now started validating these reported areas and positioned various interventions in the form of irrigation facilities and equipment like pump and engine sets as well as giving several inputs such as hybrid and registered seeds and the rehabilitation of small-scale irrigation facilities like solar power irrigation systems, diversion dams, and small farm reservoir.

Sustaining these efforts is the continuing info dissemination about the El Niño phenomenon using quad media in support to the planned briefings and planning workshops and regional summit to be conducted that shall be participated in by the Local Government Units of the four provinces together with the DA’s partner-agencies.

Based on the partially reported drought affected areas in the region consolidated by the RDRRMO as of Feb. 20, 2024, a total of 1,174.95 hectares were affected. These areas located in the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and Pangasinan, were planted with rice, corn, legumes and lowland vegetables.

Rice which is one of the most vulnerable crops, registered a total of 1,072.98 mt loss in production valued at Php59.75 million. A total of 573.21 hectares production area was damaged affecting around 900 rice farmers in the region.

For corn, a total of 583.30 hectares was reportedly damaged (131.82 totally damaged and 65.53 partially damaged) from the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan affecting a total of 1,288 corn farmers or equivalent to 982.29 mt in production valued at Php23.69 million.

Lowland vegetables as well as legumes, fruits and other high value crops were also affected by the drought which registered a total of 18.44 hectares with only 0.5 hectares declared as totally damaged from the province of Ilocos Norte owned by a total of 102 farmers with a volume of production loss totaled to 61.01 mt valued at Php3.5 million.

Meanwhile, to provide updates on the effects of El Niño or the prolonged dry spell, here are some information about it, its effect in the agri-fishery sectors including some necessary actions that farmers may consider in dealing with the possible negative impacts of this phenomenon.