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Bohol sets aside P2.5M funds for El Niño cloud seeding operations

Bohol reactivates El Niño Task Force

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, May 12, (PIA) -- The provincial government has already allocated some P2.5M for possible cloud seeding operations to mitigate the effects of the extreme drought on Bohol farms.

Provincial Administrator Asteria Caberte announced this while reading the governor’s message at the opening of the urgent meeting of the Task Force El Niño at the Capitol Ceremonial Hall.

The meeting had the local Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) sharing its forecast of an increased likelihood of a transition to El Niño by July and could persist until the first quarter of 2024.

El Niño increases the probability of below normal rainfall conditions, which could have negative effects like dry spells and droughts in some areas in the country.

The Task Force meeting came in the heels of a resolution from the Malinao Dam Federation of Irrigators Association (MADFIA) of Pilar, requesting the Provincial Government to allocate funds for cloud seeding operations from May to October.

The meeting also aimed to synchronize and harmonize all efforts from government and the agriculture stakeholders to effectively respond with mitigation and adaptation measures for the El Niño.

On the said resolution, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said Malinao Dam, which has a five million cubic meter capacity, still has enough water for this cropping season.

This may not, however, last until the end of the year, if the predictions of below normal rains happen.    

But with Capitol already allocating the cloud seeding fund, it would also be dependent still on PAGASA to determine the most appropriate time to seed, considering the presence of conditions favorable to the operations.

Malinao Dam’s water level situation is also shared by Bayongan Dam, Bohol’s largest water capacity dam, at 25 million cubic meters, Capayas Dam, and Talibon Dam.

NIA, however, emphasized the need for farmers to start water austerity measures, so that the available irrigation water could reach as much farms and help Bohol store up on food for the dry spell.

Capitol is also set to pass a supplemental budget for El Niño mitigation and this could include another series of cloud seeding operations to produce artificial rain, and the P241-M additional funds which the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) and Provincial Veterinary Office can use for El Niño interventions that respond to different aspects of food production and irrigation facilitation.

This would include a proposed P76M additional budget for the Provincial Rice Program, P20M for the Corn Program, P18M for mobility and hauling vehicles, another P18M for irrigation support through water pumps and watering tools, and P16M for support to bangus marine fish cages during the months of drought, according to Ramil Rodela of the OPA.

Other local government proposed items for the proposed supplemental budget which needs the approval of Sangguniang Panlalawigan is P15M for the establishment of smart green houses for vegetable production, P10.4M organic fertilizer support, P7.2M support for irrigation through drip irrigation, P6M for information, education, and communication activities as well as P5M for bio pesticides and bio-composting support.

The rest of the OPA-identified El Niño interventions also include irrigation support through water sprinklers and shade nets, P4M for vegetable production, P4.6M for Urban Gardening, sweet potato production, and production of nature technology farming systems concoctions, added Rodela. (RAHC/PIA7 Bohol)

According to the National Irrigation Administration, there is still enough water for one cropping, but there might not be enough for the succeeding croppings. NIA has called on farmers to start exercising austerity measures in using irrigation water so they can serve more. (PIA Bohol)

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Rey Anthony Chiu

Regional Editor

Region 7

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