DA bats for ‘climate resilient’ programs

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The Department of Agriculture urges stakeholders to engage in promoting climate resiliency programs among farmers and fisherfolk to avoid more damage and losses in agricultural products when natural calamities strike.

            In a virtual press briefing, DA Director for Climate Resilient Agriculture Office Alice Ilaga said the agency actually has an Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (AMIA) program to push for climate-resilient agriculture.

            “The regional offices already know how to disseminate early warnings or advanced advisories on weather forecast,” she said.

            DA Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes said through the early advisories, affected farmers and fisherfolk were able to harvest early and save more than P30 billion worth of produce.

            AMIA is the flagship program of DA for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The country’s agriculture and fisheries sector would enable local communities to manage climate risks while pursuing sustainable livelihood vision climate-resilient agriculture.

            However, Ilaga admitted the need to inform more people in the industry about it. “The AMIA villages are piloted only in selected barangays,” she said.

            Reyes explained this means effort is needed to promote AMIA technologies and practices. “This shall be accomplished by strengthening partnership with the local government units and with farmers’ groups, cooperatives, and associations. Even the private sector and non-government organizations should share their resources and expertise,” he said in a text message to Philippine News Agency.

            The LGUs should invest in more climate-proof structures such as warehouses that are put in higher elevations so when a flood comes the food stored inside will still be utilized, Reyes added.

            In her presentation, Ilaga shared that AMIA incorporates the national color-coded agricultural guide (NCCAG) maps which are accessible publicly at www.farmersguidemap.gov.ph.

            The NCCAG is composed of 20 agricultural maps that identify naturally suitable and economically important crops, she said.

            It also overlays with eight climate change-induced hazards. These maps are vital to crop growth and survivability such as water availability and climate data.

            AMIA also conducts an information drive that aims to update the stakeholders on weather and climate information.

            “We teach them to diversify crops, have multi-commodity in crops and livestock. Value-adding is also vital. This way, the farmers always have another option when one crop is devastated,” she said.

            Early this year, Agriculture Secretary William Dar ordered the expansion and upscaling of AMIA’s strategy to the municipal, provincial and regional levels to test climate-resilient agriculture programs.

            “We need science-based and evidence-based options and actions that we can easily provide to all our stakeholders. The creation of more AMIA villages is one of the strategies that the DA is adopting to address the challenges of climate change,” he said.

            AMIA villages are where climate-resilient agricultural pilot programs are tested. Data collected from these villages will be used for scaling-up in areas with compatible profiles.*PNA

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