The Department of Agriculture has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of National Defense (DND), ensuring the use of aircraft from the Armed Forces in the agriculture department’s cloud seeding operations.
The MOA took effect immediately, after Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin signed it last May 2.
The DA has also tapped into a quick response fund worth P370.08 million, which has been allocated to the affected regions.
Prior to the agreement between the DA and the DND, the DA’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management has deployed contracted aircraft to seed clouds for rain in identified vulnerable agricultural areas and watersheds to minimize the impact of El Niño to crop production.
To date, 252 sorties (352 flying hours) were conducted in various locations in the Provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Maguindanao, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao City, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Sur, Isabela, Cagayan, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, and parts of Ifugao and Kalinga, with a success rate of 68 percent.
Missions were also undertaken in areas of wide magnitude, where the development of crops such as rice and corn are critical due to inadequate soil moisture.
—From the Department of Agriculture