‘Usman’ damage to agriculture reaches P1-B: Piñol
By Lilybeth Ison
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Damages to agriculture brought about by Tropical Depression “Usman” has breached the PHP1-billion mark, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said on Monday.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, the DA Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Operation Center recorded PHP1.08 billion in damages and losses, with an estimated volume production of 23,853 metric tons (MT) affecting 54,345 hectares of farm lands.
The increase in the overall value was attributed to reports of rice damages in Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, and Capiz provinces.
Total rice lost was PHP963.75 million with 20,350 MT volume production loss in Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon, Capiz, Leyte, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, and Samar provinces.
Around 47,959 rice lands and 42,171 farmers were affected.
Despite the damage incurred in rice, Piñol still expects rice production to increase this year due to early interventions, such as the distribution of hybrid and inbred seeds in the affected areas.
There is also enough supply of the staple food as buffer stock is good for 134 days, he said.
According to the National Food Authority (NFA), it has already released a total of 13,730 bags of rice as of today (January 7) for relief operations in nine provinces of Regions 4, 5 and 8 hit by TD “Usman”.
In Region 5 alone, the NFA has released a total of 13,518 bags to local government units (LGUs) and various relief agencies.
On the other hand, a total of 167 bags had been released to the PDRRMC/OCD (Office of Civil Defense) of Occidental Mindoro and 17 bags to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of Marinduque.
In Region 8, a total of 45 bags had been issued to the local PRC for relief operations.
NFA said rice prices in the affected areas are also closely monitored to ensure that there is no unwarranted spike in prices and to assure consumers of the availability of affordable rice supply.
NFA OIC Administrator Tomas Escarez has instructed the NFA field offices to prioritize rice releases to retailers in the typhoon-affected areas and ensure that there is available NFA rice in these areas.
“We will make sure that our accredited rice retailers will continue to sell NFA rice at P27 and P32/kg rice in the areas affected by the typhoon. The availability of affordable and quality NFA rice will be a great help to all those affected by the calamity,” Escarez said.
Meanwhile, damage to corn crops was recorded at PHP27.59 million with 286 MT production loss. Affected areas were 5,737 hectares and 4,576 farmers in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Masbate, and Sorsogon.
For the livestock subsector, around PHP16.78 million worth of carabao, cattle, chicken, duck, goat, horse, and swine were affected with 256 farmers in Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar.
A total of PHP56.99 million worth of high-value crops such as fruit trees, assorted vegetables, and root crops were lost affecting 649 hectares of agricultural land and 2,556 farmers in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Masbate, Sorsogon, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, and Samar.
For the fisheries sector, a total of PHP15.37 million worth of tilapia, crab, shrimp, bangus, sugpo, and fish corals were affected with 90 fisherfolks in Oriental Mindoro, Camarines Norte, and Sorsogon provinces.
Some PHP500,000 worth of small-scale irrigation projects were affected by the typhoon in the provinces of Camarines Sur and Sorsogon.
Piñol said the DA would allot PHP200 million, to be sourced from the quick response fund, which would be used for the repair and rehabilitation of damaged agricultural facilities. (PNA)