Seven cities in Negros Occidental have been experiencing rain since Wednesday due to cloud seeding operations being conducted by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist to address the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.
Provincial Agriculturist Igmedio Tabianan said the rains in the cities of Silay, Talisay, Cadiz, Escalante and the highlands of Sagay City were due to cloud-seeding.
Tabianan said a drizzle was also experienced in Bago City and the southern part of Bacolod. Among the problems experienced during cloud- seeding was the lack of cumulo-nimbus clouds, he said.
Another problem is the wind direction because sometimes it heads towards the west instead of east where the mountain areas and most of the rice fields are, Tabianan also said.
OPA's contract with Royal Air is for the use of their steam-engine plane for forty hours but so far, Tabianan said, OPA was able to utilize only 5 to 10 hours.
He said they have enough hours for using the plane until the end of next month when the dry spell is expected to end.
Dennis Penuela, Agricultural Technologist of the Negros Occidental Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, had said earlier that OPA will use the remaining P2.4 million from the P4 million Provincial Risk Disaster Management Fund of last year, and a steam-engine plane they are using was rented for P40,000 an hour from Royal Air.
Penuela said the plane rental this year is higher than the single-engine plane used for cloud-seeding in the province before that was only P17,000 an hour.
This is because the Department of Agriculture has required strictly the use of steam-engine planes for cloud-seeding after four persons, including two officials of the agency died when their plane crashed in Nueva Ecija in 2014.
OPA has reported that the dry spell has resulted in the destruction of P18 million in crops with Cadiz, Escalante, Sagay and San Carlos, and in the towns of Calatrava and Toboso that were badly affected in northern Negros Occidental, with Himamaylan City to Hinoba-an town in the southern part of the province spared.*APN
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