ADJUSTMENTS to the planting calendar require detailed consultation with farmers to account for local differences in crop growth, a University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) academic said.
“If you look at the climate zones in the Philippines, there are variations. Shifting the climate calendar may be one of the ways but I would caution, however, that it has to be site-specific. What we have in Mindanao is entirely different from what we have in the North. Our climate type in the Philippines is changing and is not uniform across the country,” Juan M. Pulhin, a former dean at the college of forestry and natural resources at the UPLB, the Philippines’ leading agricultural university, told BusinessWorld.
Mr. Pulhin said planting decisions should involve many of the government’s science-focused agencies, including the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), apart from the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“Instead of prescribing, we may just need to provide the necessary information so that farmers themselves can decide what is the best time for them, when and how they can respond to the challenge of climate change,” according to Mr. Pulhin.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol has said that the DA is in discussions with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to adjust the planting calendar, specifically in typhoon-affected areas, as a means of adjusting to changes in the typhoon-season window due to climate change.
“Our projection is by 2019, we will be able to improve (harvest). In principle, we are in discussions with NIA to adjust the planting calendar because Northern Luzon is getting hit by typhoons in September and October,” Mr. Piñol said.
“We might be forced to adjust the planting calendar to make sure the harvest season will end early September. Typhoons used to come in October and November but in view of climate change, we will make adjustments,” according to Mr. Piñol.
Mr. Pulhin added that any changes should be “site specific based on the conditions of the area… It has to be informed by science. What is the deviation, for instance, over the years in terms of shifting climatic pattern?” Mr. Pulhin said. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio