Rice watchdog warns on climate change


Jan. 10, 2013

by James Konstantin Galvez

Manila Times





A local rice watchdog on Wednesday urged provincial and local government officials of typhoon-hit provinces in Mindanao to invest in early warning system for agriculture, to protect communities and livelihood of farmers.

The Rice Watch and Action Network (R1) warned that Typhoon Pablo may not be the last disaster of such magnitude to hit Mindanao, saying that people must be armed with necessary tools and information to determine the most viable and sustainable crops and livelihood in their areas.

“We encourage the local and provincial government to seek national support in establishing Climate Resiliency Field School and Automatic Weather Station,” said Aurora Regalado, R1 convenor.

 She also said that the establishment of early warning systems must be done simultaneously with information drives for farmers, fishers and the communities, to brace them for more active role in addressing the impact of the changing climate.

R1 gave this suggestion to the government in the light of the P6.6-billion assistance provided by the Department of Agriculture to Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte for farm rehabilitation and livelihood support for farmers.

Regalado urged Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to encourage local officials to draw up agriculture development plans based on the identified climate risks facing the communities, which will help farmers and their families withstand the imminent dangers of extreme weather conditions.

 R1 has been working with the local governments of Irosin, Sorsogon; Gerona, Tarlac and Tubigon, Bohol in its project, Integrating Climate Risks Management into Local Agriculture Development Planning, since 2009.

“We have seen how the project produced local development plans in agriculture that are premised on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction,” Regalado said.

She noted that that it is important for local chief executives to invest in these plans, saying that it should be included in the annual investment plan of each of the municipalities. 

“These are important for Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental for they may have to rethink their development plans, since their farms are dependent on a single crop or in mono-cropping of banana or coconut,” explained Regalado.

According to R1, the governors and mayors in these provinces may need to forge partnership with the Philippine tmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) to provide continuous mentoring and capacity building in setting up their own local warning systems.

Regalado said that Pagasa’s Climatology and Agro-meteorology Division can provide appropriate and relevant climate data with technical assistance in the operation of the local weather instruments; assist in drawing up the analysis of climate and weather data for use in each of the municipalities; and help install, maintain, calibrate and operate agro-meteorological station in the municipality.

“With extreme weather conditions creating unimaginable havoc to lives and properties in different parts of the country, we encourage other local governments to follow this example and put matters into their hands through planning of interventions. We only need to tap the appropriate government agencies, break some of the bureaucratic layers and identify ways of working together,” she added.






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