The damage caused by severe drought in Central Mindanao remained “minimal,” the Department of Agriculture (DA) said, citing proactive interventions to mitigate the effects of El Niño.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that only 5.3 percent or 33,080 hectares of farmlands in SOCCSKSARGEN [South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos] were affected by the drought, adding that rice farmers were able to avoid losses due to crop movement.
“The negligible degree in the decrease in production may be attributed to the timely dissemination of information to farmers,” Alcala said.
He added that because rice growers were aware of the El Niño, they opted not to plant.
Regional Executive Director Amalia Jayag-Datukan reported that DA in Region XII has been consistently conducting cloud seeding sorties to induce artificial rain.
“We started our operations on January 22, covering a total of 24 hours of intermittent flight. We have scheduled another 30 hours, and once completed, we are going for 90 hours more,” she said.
“We are continuously doing this because we have seen the positive effect of cloud seeding. We are experiencing rain showers every now and then, and that is good,” Datukan added.
Meanwhile, Alcala said that even with the success of cloud seeding, the government is already establishing long-term solutions and other strategies to cushion the impact of the drought.
The DA is considering the utilization and installation of solar water pumps in agricultural areas, as well as the development of small water impounding projects.
James Konstantin Galvez