DA embarks on cloud seeding in Region 11

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 April) — The Department of Agriculture in Region 11 has embarked on a cloud seeding operation to cushion the damage to crops caused by the El Nino phenomenon.

In a press conference during the 2nd World Bank Implementation Support Mission at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao, DA-11 regional director Remelyn Recoter said the agency’s Bureau of Soil and Management Bureau has contracted a private helicopter from Cebu for the job.

Based on the P2.6-million contract, she said two personnel from the Philippine Air Force will assist in the operations will last for 45 hours.

Depending on weather conditions, she said the operation will succeed if there are “seedable” clouds with a wind velocity below 10 kilometers per hour so that rains won’t be drifted to the Davao Gulf.

“Last Wednesday, there was rain at the Davao Gulf. We do not want to waste rains… As much as possible, the cloud spotters should be able to identify seedable clouds and provide information to the command center, like the temperature should be below 26 degree celsius so that the rain will not evaporate before it can even fall on the ground,” she said.

She encouraged other municipalities to allot funds for the cloud seeding as they may also benefit from it.

She said Digos City has expressed intention to help.

“Digos City could assist neighboring municipalities kasi hindi mo masasabi kung Digos lang, Digos lang kasi baka ma-reverse ang direction because of the wind,” she said.

Based on DA-11’s report, the drought in the region has affected 1,390 rice farmers, 1,174 corn farmers, and 2,340 farmers cultivating high-value crops such as banana, rubber and cacao.

The drought has damaged in varying degrees 1,197 hectares of rice, 2,297 ha of corn and 1,544 ha of high-value crops.

Damage to crops was pegged at P52.54 million. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)