DA conducts cloud seeding for Cagayan Valley
by Ben Moses Ebreo
Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya (February 12) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to conduct cloud seeding operations today in Cagayan Valley region to induce rainfall in farmlands hardly hit by the dry spell.
Fidel Ballesteros, head of the operations division and officer-in-charge of the local agriculture office here said the cloud seeding crew will jump off at Bagabag airport in Bagabag town.
"They are just spotting the sky for clouds before they will take off to ensure that their cloud seeding operation will not be useless," he said.
The DA has launched a periodic could seeding operations in the region after farm areas have shown drastic signs of drought brough by the El Nino phenomenon.
Early this week, the province of Isabela has been declared under state of calamity by the provincial board after most of its agricultural crops in their municipalities succumbed to the effects of the dry spell.
According to Ballesteros, they have also mobilized their field personnel to identify crops without chance of recovery in the 15 towns of Nueva Vizcaya such as rice and corn.
"This data will be needed when a rehabilitation program will be given to the affected farmers in Nueva Vizcaya," he said.
The government's rehabilitation program features the provision of free certified seeds and fertilizers to totally damaged farms among others.
Ballesteros initially identified the hardest-hit villages in Nueva Vizcaya as barangay Sto Domingo West in Bambang town; barangays Escoting, Pinya and San Pablo in Diadi town and its other barangays near the boundary of Cordon town in Isabela; barangays Sta. Lucia and Paniki in Bagabag town; barangays Pieza, Nagbitin and Bintawan South in Villaverde town and several villages in Dupax del Norte town.
The identification of affected crops are being done twice weekly according to Ballesteros to continuously update the situation of the province on the effects of the dry spell.
He however advised farmers in the province to shift to other drought resistant crops such as mungbean to minimize their loses during the drought season.
"We have requested water pumps but the problem is we do not have sufficient sources of water. We are advising our farmers to stop planting sensitive crops to avoid huge financial loses. Instead they have to plant drought ? resistant crops for the meantime. In this way, they can earn while providing soil conditioner on their farms," Ballesteros stressed. (PIA NVizcaya) [top]