THE Department of Agriculture (DA) needs to evaluate soil types and their suitability to crops on a regional basis before it implements changes to the planting calendar, according to an expert from the Climate Change Commission (CCC).
In an interview, Lourdes V. Tibig from the CCC’s National Panel of Technical Experts, said that the DA should also consider how El Niño has altered the planting calendar.
“The problem is, when there is El Niño-related drought, they don’t have an answer except for rainmaking. It is not effective. We are better off allocating the money set aside for rainmaking to other things. The rain does not fall on the places that need it. Better to spend the rainmaking funds on other forms of support for the farmers like appropriate seed… They need to study crop adaptability and all those factors at the DA,” Ms. Tibig said.
“I would suggest (calendar changes) for areas that are projected to receive less rain. I would suggest an examination of the crops and the cropping pattern. Is there a way they can change their cropping pattern in order not to expose the crop’s highly sensitive stage to dry and hot periods,” Ms. Tibig said.
Ms. Tibig said care needs to be taken in attributing losses and damage to anthropogenic climate change, as these might be more appropriately blamed on lack of preparedness.
Anthropogenic climate change is defined as a climate change resulting from human activity.
“The science of attribution is at the point where it is not yet clear that the crop damage is due to anthropogenic climate change,” Ms. Tibig said.
Ms. Tibig cited the case of typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) in 2013.
“The role ang climate change in Yolanda was not significant. It is possible we were not prepared. It is also possible that people did not heed the advisory of PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) about the storm surge because they did not know what a storm surge is,” Ms. Tibig said.
“That is a contentious issue because developed countries do not want to pay for damage that cannot be clearly attributed to anthropogenic climate change,” Ms. Tibig said, noting that the Philippines is pushing for a discussion with other countries concerned about climate change, to include such losses in their considerations.
Ms. Tibig said that when it comes to changing the planting calendar, PAGASA can only provide information on weather and climate, but studies on the crops and soil should come from DA.
“PAGASA can only give you information on weather and climate, but DA should be (identifying the type of soil and suitable crops). They include measuring the soil moisture. There are a lot of services they can provide, provided the DA is doing its job,” Ms. Tibig said. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio