EditorialEl Niño is no surprise

El Niño is no surprise

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One good thing about El Niño — a natural climate phenomenon characterized by the warming of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean — is that it is predictable.

El Niño happens every three to five years, and weathermen had been predicting and warning everyone about this year’s El Niño as early as last year.

Yet, it seems no one listens to these warnings because we always get caught flatfooted.

We have reports that at least P77 million worth of rice, corn, and other high-value crops have been damaged in Negros Oriental by the ongoing drought-spawned El Niño phenomenon, as if we were hit by a typhoon with very little time to prepare for it.

Does our food security program include El Niño in its plans? It should. As we grapple with the consequences of climate change, it is imperative to implement proactive measures to mitigate El Niño’s effects on agriculture.

We have received reports that the children of farmers in Negros Oriental, and throughout the country, are least interested to take over their parents’ farms. They would rather be enrolled in courses that can give them high-paying jobs so they could pay for the cost of not just local food.

This has resulted in a scenario wherein we have an ageing group of farmers who continue to till our soil and, most probably, continuing to use their age-old practices when El Niño was still unheard of.

This is a challenge that our government officials must surmount. Farmers must adopt and adapt to modern techniques that enhance soil health, conserve water, and reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events.

Conservation tillage, crop rotation, and agroforestry are just a few examples of sustainable practices that can bolster the resilience of agricultural systems.

Additionally, the promotion of drought-resistant crop varieties, and the use of efficient irrigation methods can help mitigate the impact of water scarcity during El Niño-induced droughts.

The government can take care of investments in infrastructure, such as water storage facilities, irrigation systems, and rural roads, which are critical for building agricultural resilience to El Niño. These infrastructure projects not only facilitate the efficient use of water resources, but also enable farmers to transport their produce to markets even during periods of extreme weather.

As we confront the escalating impacts of climate change, it is imperative that governments, policymakers, agricultural stakeholders, and communities collaborate to build resilient food systems that can withstand the onslaught of El Niño and other climate-related hazards.

Only through concerted action can we safeguard global food security, and ensure a sustainable future for this generation, and the next.

 

 

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