Before, our farmers and fishers had the knack for sensing weather behavior and conditions, and this skill they used in planning their planting and fish catching strategies.
But now, with the onset of climate change, they need new knowledge to cope with the emerging weather abnormalities.
“That is why we must go full steam in creating more climate change field schools for our farmers and fisherfolks,” said Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” R. Tañada III.
Tañada said agriculture and fishing activities depend to a large extent on prevailing climate conditions.
“Climate change is now giving our farmers and fishers complex problems. They could hardly cope with because of their limited information to deal with global warming, El Niño, and La Niña. Problem is, crop insurance for farmers is very limited and for fisherfolks, there’s not such thing as ‘catch insurance’ ” Tañada pointed out.
“Climate behavior is becoming unpredictable. We cannot leave our farmers and fisherfolks alone in dealing with hostile weather. They must be armed with the new knowledge to deal with these challenges,” Tañada said.
He said “farmers must be ready with the adaptive strategies and technologies to address erratic weather conditions. The dilemma really is that we either have too much or too little of rain, or, it comes to late or too soon.”
“The Department of Agriculture, together with different agencies must lead to charge to go full steam in establishing climate field schools to climate-proof agriculture. There are also a number of NGOs that must be tapped and further encouraged, like Rice Watch and Action Network that work hand in hand with PAG-ASA, now training farmers and helping LGUs in their municipal planning to integrate climate change adaptation measures,” the three-term congressman from Quezon Province said.
Tañada noted that while determining adaptive strategies for our coastal fisheries to cope with climate change, “we have to monitor bleaching events in coral reefs within our seawater territory.”
“Coral bleaching, caused mainly by small increases in sea temperatures, affects the corals’ capability to attract algae that literally provide fish with food as humans have it on the table. That is why coral reefs are sanctuaries to fishes.”
Tañada also cited observations and studies on the reactions of fishes to relatively small temperature changes which impact on their distribution, resulting abundance in one area, and scarcity in another.”
“We are now experiencing this phenomenon in our staple galunggong, Before our waters were teeming with that species. Now, part of our supplies of the fish staple is imported from Japan,” he said.