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Climate change seriously threatens Philippine crops, says Japanese scientist

Climate change seriously threatens Philippine crops, says Japanese scientist

Thursday, 29 October 2009 00:00

LEGAZPI CITY: The emerging climate change phenomenon threatens the Philippines’ vital agricultural crops and natural resources, a Japanese scientist told the International Conference on Climate Change Adaptation Science and Technology here. A pool of scientists from various state universities throughout the country convened in this city through the initiative of Bicol Consortium for Agriculture Resources Research and Development to develop an extensive study on how science and technology can mitigate the worst effect of global warming on agriculture, forestry and natural resources (AFNR) in the country.

Yoshinori Morooka, a scientist and professor at Kochi University in Japan, said there is need to adjust cropping calendar, develop typhoon-resistant crops, adopt soil erosion protection technology and reengineer irrigation systems because of the changing climate triggered by global warming.

Morooka said the impact of climate change is getting worst specifically in countries situated within the “Pacific Ring of Fire.”

“The worst effect of climate change over agriculture and natural resources due to global warming is not only threatening in the Philippines or Asia Pacific regions but also in Japan. Recent climate change is seriously affecting Japanese agriculture,” he said.

Following the climatological shift in Japan, various technologies for constructing artificial ponds were developed by Japanese government and adopted widely by local communities to sustain agriculture production.

Fay Lea Patria Lauraya, president of Bicol University of Legazpi, said the general objective of the gathering of scientists is to promote a holistic set of interventions that will sustain the productivity and competitiveness of the AFNR sector amid the global warming.

This scheme, according to Lauraya, would support the attainment of the first and seventh of the millennium development goals, which are extreme hunger and poverty eradication and environmental stability.

Richard Juanillo of the Philippine Council for Agriculture Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development said Philippine agriculture contributes 32 percent of the national greenhouse gas emissions, which add to global warming.

He said from 1906 to 2005, global average air temperature increased by 0.61ºC. Strong temperature increase has been observed since l975. The country’s mean annual temperature, according to Juanillo, increased by 0.610C during the period 1951 to 2006, which resulted in significant increase in frequency of hot days and warm nights based on the data of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Services Administration-Department of Science and Technology.

“Life support systems such as agriculture, forestry and natural resources are highly vulnerable to these climate change effects. There is an urgent effort to take decisive actions to mitigate the threats and adapt to the consequences of climate change,” Juanillo said.

Morooka said Japan’s Kuroshio, the warm current in the western Pacific Ocean that flows northeast along the eastern coast of Japan referred as Typhoon Alley, also affects the Philippines’ weather conditions.

He said that severe tropical storms occurring mostly between July to October that follow the Kuroshio’s warm-water energy path strikes the coasts of the Philippines, China, Taiwan and Japan.

“The Philippines have always been experiencing the long-term influence of the Kuroshio, which has had a multifaceted influence on the economic and social development of the Philippines as most of the natural disaster passed through the Kuroshio Current,” Morooka said.

“In the Philippines, San Miguel Island in Albay is one of the vulnerable areas continuously influenced by the Kuroshio Current. Unfortunately the term was not well known to many islanders despite of its impact on the coastal environment and marine ecology, fisheries and agriculture and the socio economic conditions of the people,” Mokooka pointed out.
Rhaydz B. Barcia

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