Sunday, March 14, 2010

ASEAN Experts Discuss El Niño Effects on Agriculture

The El Niño Phenomenon has cascading effects – not only does it change the weather cycles, it also affects the production of food, especially in agriculture-based regions of the world.

With this in mind, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization-Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEAMEO SEARCA) organized the “FAO-SEARCA Research Study on the Impacts of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).” The International Rice Research Institute was also part of the organizing committee of the project.

The three-day conference slated last March 8–10 aims to examine the impact of El Niño on the production of the top three staple foods in Asia: rice, wheat, and maize (corn). Said SEARCA director Dr. Gil Saguiguit , Jr., the research program also aims to expand the number of countries and crops covered by the project.

This first of two meetings of the FAO-SEARCA project would hopefully be able to assist researchers regarding the impact of the climate on cereal/grain production. The output of the project is also directed in helping agricultural institutions and governments in developing policies and programs to address the effects of ENSO on agriculture in general by providing empirical and comprehensive data.

The FAO-SEARCA project’s research component currently covers 11 countries – Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.


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