Davao asks DA for cloud seeding

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 March) – The City Agriculturist’s Office has asked the Department of Agriculture for a cloud seeding over Davao City, following a month-long dry spell that could potentially damage at least 7,000 hectares of crops.

In a letter to DA Regional Director Remelyn Recoter, City Agriculturist Rocelio T. Tabay attributed the dry spell to the El Nino phenomenon.

According to Tabay, the dry spell threatens to affect 11,151 farmers working in 7,075.15 hectares of farmlands in Paquibato, Marilog, Toril, Tugbok and Baguio Districts.

In a text message Thursday, Recoter said the agency would still have to validate the request.

There are other factors that needed to be considered before a request for crop seeding could be accommodated, she said, such as cloud formation, wind direction and standing crops.

The crop most affected by the dry spell are high value crops – fruits, industrial crops, legumes, root crops and vegetables.

Fruits were at the most risk, with 2,718.46 hectares and 4,687 farmers potentially affected.

Corn, meanwhile, ranked second in terms of land area of crops being affected, at 2,449.55 hectares.

The CAO estimates that around 2,501 farmers would be affected by the dry spell.

Rainfed rice could also face a dry spell, with the department estimating 481.67 hectares being affected and 538 farmers.

Tabay said that in Los Amigos, which is known as a destination for catfish, CAO field personnel had also reported that water levels at the catfish farms are decreasing.

“But there’s still water in the area, since they source their water from nearby rivers,” Tabay said.

He said the El Nino not only threatens crops but also animals that rely on grass for their main source of food.

He added that areas with fine soil, such as sandy areas, would be at most risk, since these cannot hold water that plants could use later.

Meanwhile, Tabay said that the revised guidelines on the use of funds could allow farmers to design irrigation measures in anticipation of climate change phenomenon such as El Nino.

The revised guidelines, he said, no longer required each LGU’s calamity fund to be used after a disaster has struck.

The CAO would help package the project proposal to help farmers with their livelihood and income.