Zamboanga City prepares for El Niño

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The Zamboanga City Agriculture Office (CAO) has assured that contingency measures are being prepared to protect the agriculture sector from the effect of possible dry spell or El Niño this year.

CAO officer-in-charge Carmencita Sanchez said that though the period from November to April of each year is really a dry season in Zamboanga City, but in case El Niño would hit as predicted, the city is well prepared in as far as protecting the agri-fishery sector.

She said that advocacy meetings with the farmers, fhisherfolk, national government agencies, non-government organizations, people’s organizations and barangay officials will be conducted.

The so-called “quick turnaround” scheme where farmers have to plant rice immediately after harvest to maximize the use of water before it dries up will be implemented, she said.

Sanchez said the Department of Agriculture has already given the city 1,000 bags of certified palay seeds which have been planted in the fields, with the hope that they would not be affected by the upcoming El Niño.

CAO would also propose for the planting of alternative root crops, she said.

“In case of a worst scenario, especially in Balinsungay being the city’s rice granary, forums will be conducted among irrigators and association officers for the implementation of irrigation water rationing scheme,” the official said.