Drought, heat-resistant crops in pipeline as El Niño looms
CROP VARIETIES adapted to drought and hotter temperatures are being developed to help farmers deal with climate change, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) said.
“These are varieties that can live despite minimal (access to) water or excessive heat,” BPI Spokesman Jose Diego E. Roxas said at a Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday.
“Even though El Niño is threatening, these varieties (are available) because of expected severe changes in climate,” he said, adding that some of them are also resistant to pests and disease that may emerge due to the changing climate.
“Plant breeders have a lot of strategies for adapting crops to climate change,” Mr. Roxas said.
Asked whether the El Niño will have an outsized impact on certain parts of the country, he said the BPI is awaiting the evaluation of the government weather service, known as PAGASA.
“In the succeeding months, we will know from them what areas will be severely affected, but it is safe to say that we need to prepare for the effects on the whole country,” he said.
The Department of Agriculture, through the High Value Crops Development Program, will be providing pump irrigation and seed for affected farmers, said Mr. Roxas.
Mr. Roxas also advised adjusting the crop calendar depending on the supply of water available. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera