LAOAG CITY, Nov. 20 – Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos has disclosed farming program strategies to mitigate the effects of El Niño phenomenon in the province.

The programs were incorporated to her newest “Paspas Dur-as Biag ti Away!” of the Manang Imee’s Capitol Express Part II (CapEx 2.0), which provide more agricultural support to farmers in the villages like distribution of seeds, machineries and facilities.

“We are now distributing the drought–resistant “green super rice (GSR)” seeds for pilot production by selected farmers in the province,” Marcos said.

The province has the “Sagip–Ulan project” for the non-irrigated farm areas in the mountain’s side and has the “Salinas program” for the crop production in the identified salty areas.

“We are now moving from hybrid rice production to in-bred rice growing because ‘in-bred rice’ varieties need much lesser farm inputs for production,” she said.

The governor is encouraging the farmers to apply the Alternate Wet and Dry (AWD) method in rice farming in this second cropping season to save more water.

“With the different farming technologies we are extending to our farmers, I am optimistic that we are able to sustain our maximum yield of rice production in our province even at the height of the effect of the El Niño phenomenon,” she said.

Dr. Fidela Bongat, director of PhilRice branch in Batac City, characterized the GSR rice specie being piloted for production in the province as drought tolerant.

However, she said the GSR seeds are still in the line for recommendation to become a rice variety.

The GSR seeds should pass the assessment process administered by the National Cooperative Testing and the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) before it is recognized as a variety. (Freddie G. Lazaro/PIA- 1 Ilocos Norte)