IT IS not yet too late for a cloud seeding operation in Negros Occidental, an official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas said.
Jimmy Eledia Jr., focal person for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management of DA Western Visayas, said the procurement process is ongoing as terms are still under negotiation.
Eledia said the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the regional line agency targets to award the contract to the supplier by third week of May.
“We will immediately start the operation upon the completion of the procurement process,” he said.
Though it’s already an “off-cropping season” for rice, the cloud seeding would still enhance the production of the province’s annual crop particularly sugarcane, the official added.
The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) earlier reported that the initial dry spell damage to the sugarcane sector of Negros Occidental is estimated at P366 million.
The figure covers an affected area of 42,424.86 hectares.
The estimated yield loss is 114,773 tons, equivalent to 223,807.91 50-kilogram bags of sugar and 3,787.51 metric tons of molasses.
In terms of value, the SRA reported a damage worth P324.5 million in sugar and almost P41.7 million in molasses.
The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), meanwhile, reported that production losses caused by the dry spell and pest infestation in the province’s rice, corn, high value commercial crops (HVCC) and fishery sectors already surged to about P109 million.
The bulk of the amount, or P85 million, was noted in rice sector, it added.
Also, the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) reported that El Niño damage to the province’s livestock and poultry industry increased to about P3 million.
The DA-Western Visayas has allocated P2.5 million for cloud seeding operation in Negros Occidental.
It is one of the measures aimed at minimizing the possible adverse effects of the dry spell on the province’s agro-fishery sector.
Eledia said the cloud seeding operation will be conducted where there is cloud formation, though they target those in upland and mountainous areas.
This is to replenish watersheds and river systems in the province while the effects of the mild El Niño persist, Eledia said.
Negros Occidental is the only province in the region that requested for cloud seeding, he added.