“It is my moral obligation to provide available and affordable food for my people,” as President Rodrigo Duterte said in a book entitled “Feeding Millions” authored by now Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol. Realizing this is DA’s MaunladnaAgrikulturaSa Nayon (MANA), special project that would support and match an enhanced provision of agricultural investments and services to empower more farmers and fisherfolk.
MANA aims to promote food security, and agricultural productivity and efficiency through augmentation of agricultural investments and interventions; assess and address the effects of natural climatic phenomenon, such as El Niño and La Niña, and provide interventions to become climate change resilient to sustain agricultural productivity; and mobilize interventions that address the gaps in agriculture sector investments.
It has four components. First is the El Niño 2015-2016 Recovery Program wherein assistancewere already provided to damaged agricultural areas. Second is the Rehabilitation of Existing Rice areas wherein the DA will conduct thorough inventory of allexisting rice areas, assess the capacity, effectiveness and efficiency, and provide interventions to rehabilitate and recover these areas to be operational in its optimum rated capacity. Third is the La Niña 2016 Mitigation Program. Based on the projections provided by PAG-ASA, the Department would identify vulnerable areas prone to damage brought by La Niña as well as associated risks and mitigations. Fourth is the One (1) Million Hectares Expansion of Rice. The DA will present an initial mappinganalysis in the identification of the location of a million-hectare potential area for rice expansion.
Record shows that the El Niño phenomenon affected a total area of 18,455 hectares in the Zamboanga Peninsula and lost 42,156 metric tons, amounting to over 655 million pesos. The DA’sinterventions include seeds and farm machines, among others.
The DA’s proposed strategies and interventions for La Niña includes identification of vulnerable areas and projection of production losses;maximize or optimize production in nonthreatened/less vulnerable areas;
Identification of alternative cropping strategies(commodity cycle adjustment); identification and monitoring of damaged infrastructure and agri-fishery facilities; massive information dissemination across locations;
engaging of farmers in alternative livelihood; close coordination with PAGASA and other concerned agencies regarding calamity advisory; and
activation of DA-wide and multi-sectoral La Niña Task Force.
The one million hectare expansion for rice is aligned with the thrust of augmenting the interventions for the development of the rice industry through increased production and frontloading investments in infrastructure like irrigation, inputs, mechanization and extension services.
The project would eventually evolve to fit with the bigger umbrella program of the DA that encompasses its overall priority thrust towards attainment of food security and self-sufficiency. (Melba B. Wee, DA9)