The Committee on Climate Change, Environment, and Natural Resources recommended the strengthening of Automated Weather Stations (AWS) in all provinces and municipalities to help farmers determine the most suitable time for planting, and for fisherfolk to avoid extreme weather conditions in the sea.

This recommendation was made during the Committee’s first quarter meeting on February 28, 2023. DOST-PAGASA reported that six to nine tropical cyclones are expected to enter or develop in the Philippine Area of Responsibility from March to August 2023. This March, DOST-PAGASA forecasted above-normal (>120%) rainfall conditions in most parts of the country except for the western parts of Luzon which may experience below-normal (41-80%) rainfall conditions.

With the El Niño-Southern Oscillation continuing to affect the weather pattern, farmers expressed their concern about its potential implications to planting schedules. They then suggested the review and updating of planting calendars in line with the changes in the weather pattern.

RAFC members also inquired if DOST-PAGASA can provide regional weather outlook as well as specific data, such as total sun hours per cropping season, to account for the crops’ photosynthetic activities.

DOST-PAGASA Senior Weather Specialist Rusy Abastillas responded that regional weather forecast data are available on their website while special observations can be requested from their office.

In addition, the Committee passed a policy resolution recommending to the DA-Agricultural Training Institute, in collaboration with the DA Regional Field Offices, the conduct of capacity-building activities on using agrometeorological instruments for farmers and fisherfolk. | JCL