By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

CROP DAMAGE. A farmer in Mabinay, Negros Oriental shows her drought-damaged field in this photo taken March 2024. The Department of Agriculture on Saturday (April 6) said the government is exploring ways to integrate more water management innovations in its mitigation efforts against the effects of El Niño on agriculture. (Photo courtesy of DA-PATCO Negros Oriental)

MANILA – The government is exploring ways to integrate more water management innovations in its mitigation efforts against the effects of El Niño on agriculture.

At the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City, Assistant Secretary Arnel De Mesa said the Department of Agriculture (DA) is already using foreign and local technologies to ensure that crops are well-maintained even during El Niño-induced droughts.

“There will always be room for improvement with regard to response. Kapag El Niño, it’s all about water management interventions. So, ano pa ang mga bagong (When it’s El Niño, it’s all about water management interventions. So, what are the other) innovations, technologies?” he said.

He said the DA is looking into sharing the alternate wetting and drying technology to more Filipino farmers, while considering other innovations such as fertigation (fertilizer integrated into irrigation) and drip technology for rice.

Isa ito sa mga puwede nating ikonsidera sa mga susunod na panahon. Some are Israeli (innovation), some are other technologies, so, tinitignan ng DA ang lahat ng available technologies (These are just among what we are considering for the next coming years. Some of these technologies are Israeli, some are not. The DA is considering all available technologies),” he said.

Marami rin namang local technology na available (We also have many available local technologies).”

The effects of the El Niño phenomenon is expected to linger until June.

Ready to assist

At a business forum in Makati City on April 4, Israel Ambassador Ilan Fluss said Israel is ready to cooperate with the country in its need to source more water solution technologies.

“Water is very high on the priority of the Israeli Embassy in Manila,” he said. “Of course, the two countries are so different from each other, with different water infrastructures and different solutions but still the process and approach are quite similar. We’d like to share those best practices.”

During a previous meeting, Fluss shared that that no less than President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. identified agriculture, water, and defense as priority areas for Philippines-Israel relations.

The Israel Embassy gathered nine Israeli firms during the forum to share modern water solutions to public and private stakeholders. (PNA)