Cloud-seeding operations induce rains in Bohol amid El NiñoBy Jeannette I. Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Cloud-seeding operations over farming communities affected by dry spells in Bohol Province have been initiated by the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) as part of the Department of Agriculture’s efforts to mitigate the developing El Niño in the Pacific.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said in a statement on Monday, that the series of BSWM cloud-seeding operations, which started on August 30, have successfully induced rains over areas in Bohol, particularly over the towns of Sierra Bullones, Pilar and Alicia as well as nearby municipalities and watersheds.
Alcala noted the below-normal rainfall was recorded last month in Bohol, pointing out a dip to 6.8 mm per hour of the three-year average of 138 mm per hour.
While making the observation that dry spells would be beneficial to some crops due to longer sunlight exposure and photosynthesis, the agriculture secretary assured the public that his department would do cloud seeding services to farming communities and provinces experiencing dry spells and provide farmers with shallow tube wells and drought-tolerant crop varieties through its regional field units.
In anticipation of the onset of the El Niño phenomenon in the country, Alcala said that the department would issue advisories and recommendations to mitigate its effects.
Likewise, the agriculture secretary reminded farmers to save available water supply and said that the National Irrigation Administration would require gatekeepers of irrigation systems to properly schedule the time and volume of water to be released.
The agriculture department is also planning to teach more farmers to employ controlled irrigation technology or wetting and drying of rice fields, which entails inserting into the soil a perforated plastic pipe to monitor the field’s water level and determine the right time for irrigation.