(Tetun) Due to concerns about near-El Niño conditions, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) has advised farmers not to plant crops until the wet season has definitely started.
The official advisory was issued by the MAF Director General of Agriculture & Livestock, Januario Marcal, and distributed to MAF district offices and Radio and Television Timor-Leste (RTTL) late last week.
“Due to concerns about the possible development of a weak El Niño, we advise farmers not to plant crops until they are confident that the wet season has really started.”
Farmers are also advised to hold some seed in reserve in case their first planting fails due to insufficient follow-up rains and they need to replant their crop.
The late start to the wet season in some areas may be related to the current near-El Niño conditions. During an El Niño, the wet season may start late and rainfall may be less from March to July in the following year.
Although El Niño has not started, the ministry’s Agro-Meteorology Department (ALGIS) and MAF-SoL continue to closely watch the situation.
The table below highlights how much the start of the wet season can change due to El Niño and La Niña. It shows the average date that each district accumulates 100mm of rainfall in one month indicating the onset of the wet season, with data sourced from each district centre.
|Location||La Niña||Average||El Niño|
|Manatuto||34 days early||23rd January||Not achieved|
|Dili||23 days early||16th December||5 days late|
|Oecussi||24 days early||11th December||20 days late|
|Liquica||16 days early||8th December||7 days late|
|Maliana||7 days early||7th November||29 days late|
|Baucau||20 days early||7th December||13 days late|
|Los Palos||19 days early||2nd December||8 days late|
|Gleno||13 days early||10th November||22 days late|
|Aileu||16 days early||1st November||11 days late|
|Ainaro||24 days early||2nd November||18 days late|
|Same||51 days early||8th November||24 days late|
|Suai||19 days early||27th November||17 days late|
|Viqueque||22 days early||8th December||6 days late|
ALGIS and MAF-SoL will continue to monitor the situation in the Pacific Ocean, to determine likely impacts on the climate in Timor-Leste.