Agri damage from recent typhoons near P600M
The country’s essential farm sector is reeling from the aftermath of the two tropical cyclones that entered the Philippines in a span of a week as the recorded losses neared the P600-million mark.
The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) latest tally showed the agriculture sector incurred P583.45 million in damage affecting 36,872 metric tons of produce following the onslaught of Tropical Depression “Maymay” and Typhoon “Neneng.”
It affected 21,324 farmers and fishers in Cordillera, Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions, spanning 21,986 hectares of land.
Rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock and poultry and fisheries were among the affected commodities.
The rice sector alone accounted for P500.1 million in agriculture damage. “Maymay” and “Neneng” wiped out 35,611 MT of rice covering 20,332 ha. of land.
High-value crops came next with P47.33 million; corn, P19.45 million; livestock and poultry, P9.34 million and fisheries, P7.23 million.
The impact of both weather disturbances on this essential sector was meager compared to the P13.3 billion in destruction after the onslaught of Typhoon “Odette” in December last year.
It damage was also smaller than the P3.12 billion in losses brought about by Supertyphoon “Karding” in late September and the P1.13 billion damage brought about by Severe Tropical Storm “Florita” in August this year.
For 2022, the country was aiming for a rice production of 20.25 million metric tons, higher than the record level of 19.96 million MT in 2021.
In a bid to avert the projected decrease in the domestic output, the DA has infused an additional P4.1 billion into the fertilizer subsidy program to help farmers contend with the rising cost of the farm input.
Based on its Oct. 17 memo, the additional funds would enable rice producers to meet the recommended urea fertilizer usage and, in turn, scale up production.
The price of urea, the most common fertilizer used locally, has been on the uptrend, especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the DA said it was continuously coordinating with the concerned government agencies, local governments and other disaster risk reduction and management-related offices to assess the impact of the tropical cyclones and provide the necessary interventions and assistance.
These include the distribution of rice, corn and assorted vegetable seeds; drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry and fingerlings and assistance from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for affected fishermen.
Affected agricultural producers may also secure funding from the Survival and Recovery Loan Program of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council wherein they can tap up to P25,000 in loans payable in three years at zero interest, as well as the quick response fund for rehabilitating the affected areas.
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