Cloud seeding pressed as drought takes toll on crops PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 March 2015 13:39

The city government through Mayor Beng Climaco has strongly endorsed to the Department of Agriculture the conduct of cloud seeding operations over the city as the long dry spell continues to take its toll on agricultural crops, fishery sector and water supply.

Mayor Climaco told her weekly press briefing in City Hall yesterday that the prolonging drought had already resulted in severe damage to crops amounting to P91.9-million as of last week and the figure is expected to increase every day.

“That is why we see the need for cloud seeding operations to induce rain and mitigate further damage to our crops,” Climaco said.

City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat, meanwhile, said he met last week with officials from the Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) and Department of Agriculture, during which a consensus was agreed to conduct the cloud seeding as one of the mitigating measures.

According to Palacat, the ZCWD has committed P1.5 million as its counterpart for the cloud seeding operations while the city government has offered P300,000 and P3 million from the DA.

Her further said a team of cloud seeding experts from the Bureau of Soil and Water Management, DA, was arriving here last night to conduct today an assessment of the overall situation brought about by the long drought, particularly the extent of the damage to crops, fishery and water supply.

As a form of weather modification, Cloud seeding is the process of spreading either dry ice, or more commonly, silver iodide aerosols, into the upper part of clouds to try to stimulate the precipitation process and form rain.

Aside from the cloud seeding, Palacat said, farmers and fisher folks were given out other mitigating measures to lessen the adverse effects of the dry season on their livelihood.

Likewise, the continuing dry spell has also caused series of bushfires on the city’s grasslands and hilltops with a total of 29 bushfires recorded and responded to by firefighters from Central District Fire Station and fire sub-stations in the barangays.

Hardest hit by bushfires are barangays Sinubong, Tigbalabag, Lamisahan, Sangali, Upper Calarian, Vitali and many other areas where grasses and bushes had dried up due to sever heat from the sun or drought.

A partial report from the City Agriculturist Office showed that the long dry spell had already damaged farm crops from rice, corn, cassava to banana and vegetables amounting to P91,973,136.55 (as of March 18, 2015), dried up farmlands extending to 8,471.6 hectares, and 1,840 individual farmers affected.— Vic Larato

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 March 2015 13:40