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BSWM, leads El Niño mitigation

By Loraine D. Cerillo - Project Development Officer II
August 06, 2015

To mitigate the effects of El Niño in the country, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) conducted an Island-Wide Planning and Consultation Workshop to Small Scale Irrigation Association (SWISA) officers and members from July to August held in Pampanga (Luzon Cluster), Iloilo City (Visayas Cluster) and Cagayan de Oro (Mindanao Cluster) headed by the BSWM Executive Director, Silvino Q. Tejada.

It is estimated that 60 provinces in the country have been affected by drought and dry spell according to PAG-ASA yet, the number may decrease since the wet season has begun. The projected rainfall is at below normal due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon ranging from weak to moderate status in May and August and may span up to the end of 2015. It is also reported that the prolonged dry season may last until next year.

As prompt preparation to the possible massive destructions the El Niño might cause, the DA-BSWM carried a training workshop in which SWISAs were informed on the monthly and provincial drought outlook on their respective areas from the resource speakers from PAGASA, Ms. Analiza Soils, Ms.Rusy Abastillas and Mr. Anthony Joseph Lucero. Moreover, the planning workshop was conducted to identify possible and alternative mitigation measures to cushion the impact of drought, to determine the capability needs of the SWISAs and to find ways on how the members can participate in the project implementation.

The Undersecretary for Field Operation, Attorney Emerson Palad explained during his message to Mindanao cluster that these initiatives that the SWISAs’ prepared for El Niño mitigation will help sustain agriculture in the country. He also mentioned that the DA’s Agri-Pinoy Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP)has boosted the productivity and increased the income of the small farmers who are striving to set competency of the agriculture sector to the global market. “…training workshops are being conducted to help the farmers identify problems and issues and come up with needed solutions in order to achieve the vision of food sufficiency and sustainable agriculture in the country,” said Palad.

In Visayas Cluster, the Assistant Secretary for Field Operations, Edilberto De Luna elucidated the productivity cost of our rice industry as compared to other rice producing country like Vietnam which basically has halfway lower capital than ours. Furthermore, the National Coordinator of the Rice and Corn Program mentioned that, in this administration, the agricultural sector has given prior attention and budget to implement projects to attain rice self-sufficiency, in which reports show that from 82%, the country’s rice self-sufficiency has levelled at 90-96% five years ago when PNoy assumed the position.

In addition, the Executive Director of the BSWM and the founder of SWISA, announced that P10Billion will be given to the Bureau for the Small Scale Irrigation Projects (SSIPs) to be implemented this last quarter of 2015 to 2016. “And for the remaining 11 months of PNoy administration, pinasusumite po ang BSWM ng DA ng P5Billion worth of SSIP to be implemented this last quarter of 2015 to 2016 at may dagdag pa na P5Billion. At dahil dito, mas maisasa-ayos natinang patubig sa ating lupang sakahan upang ang ating mga produkto ay makasabay sa pandaigdigang merkado,” Tejada added.

With a total membership of 1,488 associations nationwide and 70,000 members lead by the National President of the SWISA Federation of the Philippines Inc.,Mr. Romeo Rodriguez, a national convention is set to bind all officers and members of the associations in Davao City this coming October 7-9 to further discuss their issues and concerns as small irrigation groups.

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