The Provincial Agriculturist of Bohol, Liza Migriño Quirog, has urged all government agencies involved in providing water, seeds and fertilizers to the rice farmers of the province to brace for the impact of the looming El Niño phenomenon, as part of the preparations for the Quick Turn Around (QTA) scheme.
Quirog inspected the receding water levels of Malinao Dam in Pilar, Bohol, over the weekend, and submitted her recommendations to Bohol Governor Aris Aumentado to direct all agencies, including the Municipal Mayors and Municipal Agriculturists, to put all hands together to support the rice farmers of Bohol and adopt the QTA scheme.
This means that all rice farms after harvest shall quickly replant immediately without waiting for the months of the succeeding planting season to begin, Quirog said in a press statement.
The reason for this strategy is to catch up and take advantage of whatever remaining moisture there is in the rice fields while water dams and community reservoirs still hold few levels of water, she noted.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has forecasted diminishing moisture for the farms leading to a drought environment in the month of December up to the early quarters of 2024.
According to Quirog, the QTA scheme is a proven strategy that can help rice farmers cope with the effects of El Niño, as it can increase their yield and income by maximizing the use of available water resources.
She said that the QTA scheme has been successfully implemented in other provinces such as Nueva Ecija, Ilocos Norte and Pangasinan.
Quirog also said that the Provincial Government of Bohol, in coordination with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 7, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), will provide assistance to the rice farmers in terms of irrigation, seeds, fertilizers, pest management and technical support.
She urged the rice farmers to coordinate with their respective Municipal Agriculturists for more information on how to avail of these services.
Quirog also appealed to the public to conserve water and practice rainwater harvesting, as El Niño is expected to bring below-normal rainfall and above-normal temperatures in most parts of the country.
She said that everyone should do their part in mitigating the impact of El Niño on food security and livelihood.