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Cloud seeding stepped up amid El Nino threat.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has intensified its cloud seeding operations in strategic areas nationwide to save crops and other agricultural products from the harsh effects of El Nino.

"We will seed all (of the) seedable clouds; we will waste no opportunity," DA Secretary Proceso Alcala said.

Cloud seeding is a weather modification method where silver iodide or calcium chloride are introduced in the atmosphere to induce condensation, and eventually, precipitation.

As early as April, 2014, the DA already started preparing for the impact of El Nino on the country's agriculture sector.

According to Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) Director Silvino Tejada, the Department has conducted cloud seeding operations in strategic locations nationwide.

From April to August 2015, DA has conducted 147 cloud-seeding trips in Negros Occidental, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Pampanga, Lanao del Sur, Isabela, Cagayan, and La Union.

In addition, it has set up water management and conservation measures through its BSWM and regional field offices to ensure that scarce irrigation water supply will be efficiently used and maximized, Tejada said.

The DA has also released drought-tolerant rice varieties in threatened rice-producing areas.

For long-term adaptation measures, the DA has improved the country's small-scale irrigation systems to make these more resilient to the effects of extreme weather and climatic conditions, as well as other calamities, not only El Nino.

It has also promoted climate- and disaster-smart farming and fishery technologies to cushion the agro-fishery sector against the effects of calamities.

While the DA and other government agencies have put in place programs to address the challenges of El Nino, Alcala stressed that adapting to the effects of this extreme climatic condition, considered to be the worst in 65 years, is a shared responsibility among Filipinos.

The Secretary likewise dispelled fears that crops cannot be grown during the El Nino, citing Mung bean (Vigna radiate) as an alternative crop, among others, which actually requires warm climate during its growing period.


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Title Annotation:Metro
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Oct 12, 2015
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