Digicast Negros

Cloud seeding may start next week, sugar leader wants BSWM abolished

A sugar leader is calling for the abolition of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM)   for its failure to immediately conduct cloud seeding to induce much needed rain, which has caused millions of pesos in drought loses to the sugar industry.

Manuel Lamata, United Sugar Producers Federation president, said on Tuesday, May 27, that the BSWM should be abolished for its incompetence.

Engr. Albert Barrogo, Department of Agriculture assistant regional director, said the BSWM   is conducting a negotiated procurement and is targeting to begin cloud seeding next week.

The DA is expected to allocate P600 million for the cloud seeding in Western Visayas.

 Lamata said they will accept the cloud seeding as it is better late than never, “even if the horse is already dead”. It can help some sugar farms recover, he said.

Lamata said he appealed for cloud seeding in March and it is only now that the BSWM is responding.

It has caused hundreds of millions in losses to the sugar industry, which production is expected drop by 20 percent, he said.

What angered him the most was BSWM’s statement that cloud seeding would damage fruits in mango plantations, Lamata said.

That is unacceptable and stupid that they prioritized mangoes against a P100 billion sugar industry, he said.

Lamata said he has offered the use of his airplane for the cloud seeding, because the DA sent an emissary that they are looking for one.

Lamata reiterated his call for the provincial government to buy its own airplane so it can immediately respond to drought situations.

Negros Occidental is an agricultural province, with more than 200,000 plus hectares planted to sugarcane that produces 65 percent of the country’s sugar, and needs its own facilities for cloud seeding, he said.

An airplane would cost P50 million, which  the provincial government can afford, he said.*

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