A House leader has asked the National Irrigation Administration to waive the irrigation service fees to be paid by the farmers in the province of Cotabato in the light of the adverse effects of El Niño phenomenon that will affect the country this year.
North Cotabato Rep. Jose Tejada, in filing House Resolution 2656, said his province was identified by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration as one of the provinces with the highest El Niño vulnerability for rice crop.
“The current weather pattern in the Philippines reinforces the announcement of Pagasa that a strong El Niño event is already taking place, affecting the dry season rice crop,”Tejada, vice chairman of the House committee on agriculture and food, said.
Tejada said the ongoing strong El Niño condition was at its peak during the November-December-January 2015/2016 planting season and may continue up to the May-June-July 2016 planting season.
The Mindanao solon cited the warning raised by the International Rice Research Institute over food security in the country as the El Niño phenomenon wreaks havoc across the vast agricultural areas, leaving staple crops such as rice dying in parched earth.
Tejada said based on the assessment and conveyed in a January 2016 report by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the El Niño had damaged 7,216.06 hectares or 36,683.47 metric tons of rice.