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Fiji Time: 6:12 AM on Saturday 19 April

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Rewa Dairy counters El Nino

Monday, June 15, 2009

REWA Dairy Co-operative is seeking ways to combat the predicted El Nino-induced drought.

CEO Ratu Savenaca Seniloli said any El Nino drought would affect the industry.

The Fiji Meteorological Service issued a warning that an El Ni±o event was likely to occur this year.

Meteorology director Rajendra Prasad said the odds of an El Ni±o were over 50 per cent, more than double the normal risk of an El Ni±o in any given year.

"The evolution of climate patterns across the equatorial Pacific is consistent with the early stages of a developing El Ni±o," he said.

Mr Prasad said if the trend continued, an El Ni±o event would be established towards the latter part of the dry season.

There are possibilities the trend may halt without El Ni±o thresholds being reached.

No burning of ground cover, greater use of drought-resistant crops and communal irrigation pumps are some of the strategies farmers will be used to combat the El Nino-induced drought.

Agriculture officials are recommending that normal planting plans continue to ensure farmers stock up for the coming drought.

Ministry of Agriculture extension director Kalisito Biaukula said the recommendation to stop burning was made because some farmers, especially cane growers, were fond of burning dry areas in the hope of getting new ground cover.

But "any burning will leave cracks on the soil," he warned.

"It is important to have the floral cover because it maintains the moisture in the soil. And that moisture is needed during the drought."