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PIA Press Release

Masbate dad seeks cloud seeding amid drought

by EA Delgado

Masbate City (24 February) -- The Provincial Agriculture Office disclosed on Friday (February 19) the island-province of Masbate will require artificial method to induce rainfall immediately because the island's soil has started drying up and the supply of water has become scarce.

Provincial Agriculturist Orlando D. Esparraguerra said his office has been monitoring the situation in the province particularly its main island because the supply of water in the area was dropping fast.

Advisories of Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) stated that Masbate's closest neighbors, including Capiz and Sorsogon, were already in drought as they suffered from lack of rainfall in the last few months of 2009.

The El Niņo is a periodic atmospheric disturbance characterized by deficient rainfall and prolonged drought in some areas. This results in severe damage to crops, livestock, property and even human lives.

Esparraguerra said most farms that are feeling the effects of El Niņo are planted to rice and corn.

He reported that about 121,000 cavans of palay and 32,120 cavans of corn in expected crop harvest may be lost this year because of the drought caused by El Niņo.

On Esparraguerra's advice, Governor Elisa Kho asked the Department of Agriculture to conduct cloud seeding in Masbate.

In a Feb. 9 letter to Marilyn Sta. Catalina, DA acting regional executive director, the governor said cloud seeding, in addition to other measures, is direly needed in Masbate to cope with the impact of the dry spell.

An aircraft is used in cloud seeding in which each cloud seeding operation, aviation authorities said, would require one flying hour and cost about P50,000. (PIA Masbate) [top]

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