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PIA Press Release
2010/02/09

Cloud seeding suits selected areas only in Western Visayas, says DA

by T. Villavert

Iloilo City (9 February) -- Director Larry Nacionales of the Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas, (DA6) said that while cloud seeding produces positive results in many cases, but for the region, Panay island may say otherwise because some of the farmers are into high value commercial crops.

Cloud seeding is the process of spreading either dry ice (or more commonly, silver iodide aerosols) into the upper part of clouds to try to stimulate the precipitation process and form rain.

Induced rain may be harmful to mango trees on its flowering stage, likewise to vegetable and other root crops which doesn?t need so much water, Nacionales said.

Cloud seeding is one of the identified mitigation measures to alleviate the effects of the dry spell brought about by the El Nino phenomenon.

Director Nacionales disclosed in a PIA-interview that the local government in Negros Occidental has initiated the rainmaking activity to cushion the effects of dry spell to agricultural productivity, particularly its sugar industry.

He said cloud seeding operation is really needed there, but he could not yet discuss its results because the rain making activity has just kicked-off a few days ago.

Nacionales said that Western Visayas has a standing crop covering 176,000 hectares. The crop was planted November to December and are now under reproductive to maturity stage, ?so it is expected that the phenomenon will have little effects on the rice planted during said period.

The DA 6 Director said that of the 176,000 hectares, they have identified around 41,000 hectares vulnerable to the dry spell in Western Visayas.

These areas have been newly planted with rice this quarter and the crops are still on their vegetative stage, Nacionales explained.

He said that the estimated losses at the identified 41,000 hectares vulnerable areas will be around 125 metric tons, which he said could be recovered during the wet planting season.

While the dry spell may be harmful to rainfed and irrigated rice lands, it may also be favorable to other crops, Nacionales said as he cited opportunities for High Value Commercial Crops or vegetable/fruit crops, and mango production.

Nacionales assured the farm sector that the national government is monitoring the situation and the DA is closely coordinating with the local government units.

He said that they also have included in their mitigation plans, programs like distribution of certified seeds, livestock growing, swine fattening, piglet dispersal, vegetable farming, massive vaccination for farm animals, and some financial assistance to shallow tube wells.(PIA6) [top]

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