A party-list legislator has filed a bill on the use of specialized crop climate calendars to help farmers harness the power of science and technology as well as adapt to climate change.
Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan of Bicol Saro Partylist proposed in House Bill (HB) 9129 that crop climate calendars should be written in simple English, Filipino or in the vernacular, depending on the area where these will be distributed, to ensure that they can be easily understood.
The measure also aims to tap the expertise of the Philippine Space Agency (PSA) in providing satellite data that could be used to enhance the efficacy of the crop climate calendars. Yamsuan said he expects HB 9129 or the proposed “Climate-Resilient Agriculture Act” to benefit about 9.7 million farmers, of which around 708,000 are employed in the Bicol Region.
“The traditional crop calendars distributed to farmers should be improved by coming up with crop climate calendars that would equip farmers with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions in helping secure the country’s food production, amid the disruptions brought about by climate change on their planting and harvesting schedules,” Yamsuan said.
He said “institutionalizing the use crop climate calendars can reduce the risk of crop losses and also assist farmers in determining how best to maximize the use of water and fertilizers in line with the country’s commitment to sustainable farming.”
Under the bill, crop climate calendars refer to visual tools that present cultivation practices against the timeline of the cropping season and the risks faced by a crop per growing stage in relation to changes in climate and weather conditions.
Yamsuan said the crop climate calendars should be a collaborative effort of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the Philippine Space Agency (PhiiSA), and the local government units (LGUs) to ensure that these would be useful for farmers.
“The government should be able to catch up with fast-changing technological applications to enable our farmers to harness the power of space and science in developing innovative farming and adapting to the disruptions triggered by climate change,” said Yamsuan, a former assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).