According to the local sources, it has been reported recently that the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) is urging rice farmers in Negros Occidental to brace for La Niña, as like El Niño, it may bring huge damage and production losses to crops .It has been revealed that La Niña is the opposite of El Niño characterized by above normal rainfall, strong monsoon activity, and formation of more tropical cyclones. Further, a monitoring of the Provincial Disaster Management and Program Division (PDMPD) showed that five to seven percent of La Niña effects may be felt by middle of June. In addition, it is projected to go full blast in August or September immediately after the termination of El Niño.
Meanwhile, in this matter a Senior Agriculturist Armando Abaño, crop protection coordinator of OPA narrated that during La Niña, there will be months with more rainy days thus, the Provincial Government will be concentrating more on vulnerable areas. Further, Mr Abaño explained that these areas are those low-lying farms where chances of flood and stagnation of water are high. While, we are currently addressing the situation under the prevailing El Niño effects, and we are already advising our farmers to brace ahead for La Niña accordingly. It was also stated that crop and nutrient management should be constantly observed amid the changing climate too.
Furthermore, the OPA also revealed that for increasing the rice farms up for planting in the next two to three months, the utilization of ideal planting materials is essential. Thus, Mr Abaño told that the farmers should use water-tolerant and bacterial diseases-resistant varieties of seeds, which can be obtained from various registered seed growers in the province. In addition, between direct seeding and transplanting, it was added that the OPA is advising the latter as direct seeding is prone to lodging.
While, with regard to terms of nutrients management is concerned, it was intimated that there should also be a balanced application of fertilizer as it contributes in the prevention of pests and diseases. However, the fertilizer requirement depends on the fertility of land, as it was pointed out by Mr Abaño. Moreover, like El Niño, we also have to be ready and equipped for La Niña as it may also bring the same or even higher intensity of damage and losses, if not mitigated and addressed well.