Cloud seeding in WV begins; DA-6 says it is for land prep

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Department of Agriculture Western Visayas (DA-6) announced that cloud seeding commenced last week, emphasizing its necessity for preparing land for planting.

DA-6 Director Dennis Arpia, in a press conference on Tuesday, June 16, stated that the cloud seeding procedure began on June 12.

“We need to somehow induce the weather so that there is a large volume of rain since we need it for land preparation. Our farmers are having a hard time cultivating farmlands that were drought-stricken,” he said.

Arpia noted that most farmlands in Iloilo, the hardest hit by the El Niño phenomenon, are not yet suitable for farming.

“For Iloilo, which has the biggest contribution to our food security not just in the region but the country, most areas are not yet ready except for those that are irrigated,” he stressed.

The DA-6 also pointed out that major water sources in the region are still reeling from the effects of El Niño, with water levels not yet normal for most reservoirs.

While acknowledging public apprehensions since the rainy season has already started, Arpia emphasized the difference between the “needs and appreciation” of plants and humans when it comes to rain.

Arpia highlighted the importance of timing in agricultural activities, particularly in the context of impending weather conditions.

“If you calculate the months, it takes about four months before you can harvest after planting. This means that considering the current backdrop, where it is possible for typhoons to start around October or November, farmers tend to wait,” he explained.

By starting the planting season earlier, farmers can avoid the peak typhoon months and ensure their crops are harvested before severe weather hits.

“There is no need for us to wait so long,” he added, emphasizing that the procedure would reduce the risk of crops being affected by flooding.

Arpia said the focus of the cloud seeding now is on Iloilo before moving to areas in Negros Occidental to avoid aggravating the impact of the Mt. Kanlaon eruption on farmers.

A P6 million budget from the current funds of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management was allocated for the procedure, but Arpia noted that this might be increased if necessary.

“If there is a need for additional cloud seeding measures, we will add more to ensure that our farmers are ready for the wet season,” he added.

The cloud seeding operation is based in Bacolod City, with Bacolod-Silay International Airport serving as the operation center.

DA-6 previously explained that the prevailing northeast monsoon, or Amihan, will bring the induced rain to Panay Island.