‘El Niño affecting sugarcane quality’

THE quality of sugarcane is affected by the dry spell associated with El Niño, said Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr.

The governor, a sugarcane planter himself, said the crop now has lesser juice, and worse, almost 50 percent of the sugarcane brought in sugar mills in northern Negros are burnt.

“That’s why we have to pray for rains,” he said.

Marañon added that the remaining production of sugar for the current crop year would be lower because of El Niño.

The governor said he is hoping for more cloud seeding operations using the funds allocated by the Sugar Regulatory Administration and the Department of Agriculture.

He added that more cloud seeding operation should be conducted before the rainy season starts.

Cloud seeding operations in the Negros Island Region began on May 1, since then Negrenses continue to experience rains although mostly in Negros Occidental only, according to the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM).

Rains fell mostly in the north and central portions of Negros Occidental and seldom in Negros Oriental.

“The prevailing high temperature in the region affects the formation of clouds thus, seedable clouds are currently minimal which also limits our operation,” said Corazon Ditarro, engineer II of Agro-Hydrology and Rain Simulation Section of DA-BSWM.

Ditarro said last week they lack cloud spotters in Negros Oriental, and the seedable clouds in the southern part of Negros Occidental are minimal.

She added that once they have fully consumed the 45-hour cloud seeding before the onset of the rainy season, the 60-hour operations funded by the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) can also be utilized.

“The 60-hour cloud seeding operations funded by the SRA has already been subjected to post-evaluation last week. It will be the region’s reserve if needs arise,” Ditarro said. (TDE)

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