BACOLOD City – The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) in Negros Occidental is planning to conduct cloud seeding operation with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to counter the effects of dry spell due to El Niño.
OPA officer-in-charge Japhet Masculino said on Apr 20, 2017 that this is part of the initiatives of the provincial government to cushion the impact of dry weather to the province’s agriculture industry.
Masculino noted that the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) projected that El Niño will continue up to the end of 2017.
In April 2016, Negros Occidental was placed under a state of calamity due to dry spell. Damage and losses to agro-fishery sector reached almost P500 million in 2016 aside from at least P182 million damage and production losses to sugarcane, the province’s main crop.
“We are preparing our interventions,” Masculino said, adding that the OPA would identify and assess the areas expected to be worst affected by the dry spell.
Masculino said this would include the identification of localities where the cloud seeding would be carried out.
He added they would discuss with the DA how to go about the cloud seeding, after which a budget would be set aside by the provincial government. The government is expected to provide a counterpart fund to the DA’s budget.
Last year, the DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management funded for P2 million a 45-hour cloud seeding operations across the Negros Island Region. (PNA)