Cloud seeding operations start in Central Mindanao
KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato — The Department of Agriculture in Central Mindanao has started cloud seeding operations with three salt-dispersal sorties in the region.
Amilia Datukan, DA regional director, announced the delivery of 900 bags of salt Friday, and the conduct of cloud seeding operations in three areas in Central Mindanao using a Cessna light plane.
Personnel from the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) conducted the rain-inducing operation in the drought-affected provinces of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Saranggani.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer noticed moderate rain in some parts of North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
The DA intervention, in partnership with local government units, aims to save high value crops in their vegetative stage, including palay, corn, coffee and cacao.
Earlier, Datukan urged farmers to continue farming heat-resistant crops with the on-set of El Niño in the region “because the government is ready to intervene by providing agricultural assistance.”
The three provinces, along with Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, are likely to experience drought during the first quarter of 2016.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration defined drought as three consecutive months of way-below normal rainfall.
Zaldy Boloron, DA-Central Mindanao deputy regional technical director, said at least 10 cloud seeding operations being planned across the region, which is composed of the provinces of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and Saranggani and the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong, Koronadal, and General Santos.
Datukan said the DA has set aside about P6 million for the cloud inducing operations.
Data from DA website showed that each flying hour cost around P45,000 to P50,000. This includes the cost of salt and other materials to be dispersed above clouds targeted to induce rain. SFM
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