Agriculture ministry plans measures in anticipation of La Nina

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesias agriculture ministry is making preparations in anticipation of the natural phenomena La Nina, which usually leads to a very wet and prolonged rainy season in the region.

The anticipatory measures are crucial to mitigate the impact of La Nina on agricultural crop production, Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman said here on Wednesday.

"The BMKG (the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency) has forecast that the weather will remain normal this year. La Nina is likely to occur in October, but we are preparing in advance, as we did while dealing with drought last year," the minister stated.

To mitigate the impact of floods that could lead to crop failure, the ministry will improve irrigation networks, provide pumps to dispose of water, and build deep as well as shallow wells to absorb water in flood-prone areas, such as those in Karawang in West Java Province and Jombang in East Java.

He has also coordinated with the National Logistics Agency (Bulog) to shore up rice stocks before La Nina-induced downpours start affecting the farming activities.

In late 2015, Indonesia was gravely affected by prolonged drought due to El Nino which had led to wide-spread forest fires and crop failures.(*)