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Wednesday, July 24, 2019
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DA: Cloud seeding not needed for now

THERE is no longer a need for a cloud seeding in Negros Occidental for now, 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 in Western Visayas, said based on the result of their reassessment conducted last week, water levels in major river systems in the province have already normalized.

Thus, the regional line agency has postponed the cloud seeding operation, Eledia said.

"In two weeks' time, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) may declare the onset of rainy season," he said, adding that "though, El Niño effects might still prevail."

DA-Western Visayas has allocated P2.5 million for cloud seeding operation in Negros Occidental.

It is one of the measures seen to allay possible adverse effects of the dry spell to the province's agro-fishery sector.

Latest reports showed that the amount of damage brought by the dry weather is already pegged at about P495 million.

Initially, the regional line agency targets to conduct cloud seeding operation in May, particularly on the third week. However, it has yet to go through with the procurement process.

Eledia said the procurement process is already complete. In fact, it was already awarded to a supplier.

Eledia said they will write the Provincial Government to conduct assessment from time to time if it needs cloud seeding.

"The fund allocated for cloud seeding in Negros Occidental can be used throughout the year," he said, adding it will be "reserved" for the province.

Negros Occidental was the only province in Western Visayas that requested for a cloud seeding operation.

Eledia said they cannot actually act on it immediately as the request also came late, sometime in February and March.

Based on the guidelines for cloud seeding, they cannot start the procurement without the request.

The procurement process alone usually last at least a month subject to other delays, Eledia said.

"For Negros Occidental with sugarcane as a major crop, it is better to allot a regular fund for cloud seeding and coordinate with the Sugar Regulatory Administration as part of its preparation measures given that the province is normally affected by the dry spell," he added.


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