P18 million sought for cloud seeding as El Niño looms


Posted at May 03 2023 03:44 PM | Updated as of May 03 2023 05:15 PM

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(UPDATE) The Department of Agriculture is seeking a budget of P18 million for cloud seeding operations to mitigate the impact of the looming El Niño phenomenon. 

The agency is also looking at adjusting the planting calendar amid the possible dry spell that may be caused by El Niño.

In a media briefing on Wednesday, U-Nichols Manalo, director of DA's Field Operations Service said programs have been prepared to ensure productivity during the latter half of the year until the first quarter of 2024.

"Mag a-adjust tayo ng calendar, mag aadjust ng type ng itatanim, o kaya po pa-iigtingin ang water management. Nakahanda rin po sa pagbibigay ng pumping engine na tatamaan ito po yung ibinibigay natin. Magsasagawa po tayo ng cloud seeding operations," he said.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for its part, is also preparing for El Nino's effects on fisheries.

BFAR Chief Information Officer Nazer Briguera said El Niño has both positive and negative effects on fisheries.

He said higher water temperature leads to higher production for pelagic species like tuna and sardines.

But on the other hand, he said El Niño might cause lower water levels for land-based aquaculture such as fish ponds.

Lower water levels mean lower oxygen for fish, which, if not prevented, might lead to fish kills.

But BFAR said proper measures will be used to mitigate the effects.

"Maiiwasan natin ang losses kung gagawin ang measures. Pag mababa ang production no posibilidad na tumaas ang presyo kaya ang pamahalaan ay andoon sa panig na sufficient ang supply," he said.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) also announced the suspension of the allocation of water to irrigation starting May 10. The allocation had already been lowered from 30 to only 10 cubic meters per second this week.

But the NWRB said farmers don't need irrigation at this time because they are in their harvest season.

"Hindi po namin sila tinanggalan, ang nangyari po jan, tapos na sila magtanim. Nag-aani na sila. Magsisimula po silang magtanim by second half ng June," said NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr.