Cebu City readying measures for El Niño spell
Even before the dry season officially begins, farmers of Cebu City’s mountain barangays are preparing for the rains which will come in less than two months from now.
“As far as our observation, it’s a normal summer season. It’s normal that water supply decreases. It’s not alarming. There’s still water,” City Agriculturist Joselito Baclayon said.
Temperature ranged between 22 to 24 degrees Celsius in the upland areas during the day but would lower to 18 degrees in the evenings.
Baclayon said the City Agriculture Office has been preparing since last year for the onset of a mild El Niño phenomenon that is expected within the first quarter of this year.
About P5 million was budgeted last year to purchase hoses and drums for the city’s farmers.
Another P2-million worth of seeds and fertilizers were distributed last year after the cold spell which hit the city’s mountain barangays.
Baclayon said based on their records, there are 14,000 to 15,000 farmers in the city.
There are also 51 primary farmers associations and one Cebu City Farmers Federation.
“We have no problem with our production. Everything is normal. There are several crops that normally survive during the summer,” Baclayon said.
Crops that thrive in the hot weather include root crops, sweet corn, cassava, beans and some leafy vegetables.
Baclayon said their department has a P10 million budget to build 200 water impounding areas in the mountain barangays to help mitigate the effects of the El Niño.
The city agriculturist said a 100-sq. meter catchment basin costs P50,000 and can store 100 cubic meters of water.
Baclayon said he hopes to roll out the project starting next month since irrigation is the main challenge for farmers in the city during the dry season.
The CAD is also asking the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to set aside P5 million for fertilizers which can prevent stress and enhance resistance in plants as well as seeds and plants .
Farmers were advised not to burn dried grasses and leaves, but rather consider “mulching” or laying them on the ground to keep the moisture in the soil, Baclayon said.
Farmers were also directed to build barns or sheds to protect their animals from intense heat and conserve water as well as plant trees that are drought-resistant.
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