BSWM leads cloudseeding
by Venus G. Villanueva
Kalibo, Aklan (5 February) -- The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), through 1 PAF Cessna 210 plane, has completed 10 cloudseeding sorties in Cagayan Valley as of February 3, 2010.
Around 230,560 hectares of rice and 202,471 hectares of corn were already affected in the region, according to a report of DFA RFU II.
BSWM is preparing for the deployment of a bigger plane that could dispense 500 kilos of salt per sortie.
In Negros Occidental, cloudseeding operations started on February 1 and 9 sorties have already been completed. The provincial government through Governor Zayco initially funded the hiring of one Cessna for cloud seeding.
7,000 hectares of rice and 343 hectares of corn in the province were already affected based on the assessment conducted by the Provincial Agricultural Office together with the BSWM. In addition, around 28,000 hectares of newly planted and ratooned sugarcane in the municipalities of Magallon and Himamaylan, Hinigaran and La Castellana were threatened.
Cloud seeding in the province will continue in the next few months as the El Niņo worsens. Relative to this, the BSWM is facilitating the deployment of aircraft to conduct cloud seeding operations over Region 4 and 11.
The areas affected are Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon in Region 4, and Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte in Mindanao.
In Aklan, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reported that their respective counterparts have already contacted them about mitigating measures they have prepared for El Niņo.
According to William Castillo, Officer?in-Charge of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) here, the DA has inquired about Aklan's El Niņo vulnerable areas, so that the department can introduce or implement agricultural technologies that are adaptable to the hot weather.
OPA is also advising farmers to plant vegetables and other food crops that do not need much water.
Presently, OPA is also implementing programs to culture and raise freshwater prawns, catfish and tilapia in interior and hinterland municipalities of Aklan so that the people will have other fish sources when El Niņo sets in, making it difficult for fishermen to fish in the seas.
For its part, DENR-Aklan was contacted by its regional office as to the status of the province's water sources for domestic and agricultural consumption in anticipation of El Niņo.
Although Aklan is said to be moderately affected of the phenomenon, DENR has called on Aklanons to conserve and to recycle water, and plant species that need little water. (PIA) [top]