Cloud seeding starts as El Niño hits more towns of Davao Sur
DIGOS CITY — The Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) started cloud seeding in some parts of Davao region and Soccsksargen area on April 9 this year even as more farmers in Davao del Sur are reeling from the effects of El Niño.
Roy Jose Pascua, a focal person for disaster risk reduction and management of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 11, said cloud seeding covered Digos City, Bansalan, Magsaysay and Matanao towns and some parts of North Cotabato, where crops and livestock had been dying because of the drought.
To the delight of farmers, the rain came in the barangays of Kapatagan in Digos City and in Balutakay and Managa of Bansalan town on April 9, shortly after the BSWM, with the 900th Philippine Air Force weather group, started cloud seeding, reports from the local governments said.
Felimon Ando, a farmer in Kapatagan here, thanked DA for the rain that saved his coffee farm.
Pascua said the DA’s risk reduction management office targeted 57 cloud seeding operations until May 20 to cushion the impact of the drought on small farmers.
Cloud seeding was also scheduled to resume on Monday, targeting high-value crops like mango, cacao, coffee corn and rice fields in Compostela Valley, Pascua said.
In Davao del Sur, crop damage due to the absence of rain in the last five months has reached P161 million in at least five towns, affecting 6,500 farmers.
Pascua said the damage could still go up as Padada, the sixth Davao del Sur town affected by drought, was still trying to assess the damage.
He said damage to rice, corn and other high-value crops had been reported in Bansalan, Matanao, Hagonoy, Kiblawan, and Magsaysay, where the dry spell started as early as November last year.
Earlier, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Service Administration announced the dry spell would last until June.
The DA regional office has deployed 40 open source pumps for irrigation in the province to mitigate other effects of the dry spell.
Pascua said 200 open source pumps were deployed in Davao region, with each pump able to provide water in one hectare of farmland for eight hours. /lzb
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