MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has initially disbursed and distributed PHP8.5 billion worth of various interventions to enable farmers and fisherfolk to recover from the effects of the series of typhoons that hit Luzon in October and November.
"On behalf of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, we will continue to provide our typhoon and flood-affected farmers and fisherfolk in Luzon and other areas with immediate and much-needed assistance to tide them over and start anew," Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a news release on Friday.
"The DA family sincerely commiserates with thousands of our countrymen who were displaced and whose livelihood were adversely affected. Our assistance and interventions may not be enough, but we will extend all the possible ways to handhold them until they are back on their feet, and farm and fish again so they can ably provide adequate food and incomes for their families," he added.
DA Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan said the interventions comprise of quality seeds of inbred and hybrid rice, corn, and vegetables; cassava seed pieces; fertilizers; farm machinery and equipment; ready-to-lay chicken, ducks, quails, goats, native pigs, and other livestock; animal feeds, veterinary drugs and biologics; fingerlings and fiberglass fishing boats; and post-harvest equipment.
Of the total P8.5-B assistance, the bulk was extended to farmers and fishers in Cagayan Valley and Bicol, the two hardest-hit regions, receiving PHP2.34 billion and PHP1.07 billion, respectively, in the form of various agri-fishery assistance and interventions.
Other typhoon and flood-affected farmers and fishers in five regions also received the corresponding assistance:
• Cordillera Administrative Region – PHP382 million;
• Region 1 (Ilocos) – PHP313.8 million;
• Region 3 (Central Luzon) - PHP281.5 million
• Region 4A (CALABARZON) - PHP736 million;
• Region 4B (MIMAROPA) - PHP914 million.
Of the total assistance, Cayanan said the bulk was provided by the DA banner programs (rice, corn, and high-value crops) worth PHP4.06 billion, followed by food and cash aid (PHP1.33 billion), quick response fund (PHP641.82 million), DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (PHP670 million), PHP800-million emergency and livelihood loans from the DA's Agricultural Credit Policy Council, and PHP1-billion insurance payments from the DA's Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).
The total damage on the country's agri-fishery sector due to the seven successive typhoons (from Nika, Ofel, Pepito, Quinta, Rolly, Siony, and Ulysses) in October and November has reached PHP12.8 billion.
The biggest impact in terms of production value was due to Typhoons Rolly, Ulysses, and Quinta that recorded PHP5.79 billion, PHP4.18 billion, and PHP2.66 billion worth of losses, respectively.
The damage could have been more massive had it not for the early DA advisories, as instructed by Secretary Dar, that enabled farmers and fishers on the path of the typhoons to harvest their crops and fishery products early.
As a result, more than PHP32 billion worth of rice, corn, vegetables, and fruit crops, and aquaculture species were saved.
For rice, some 1.94 million metric tons worth PHP30.1 billion from 445,376 hectares were spared, while corn farmers were able to save 161,824 metric tons worth PHP1.98 billion. (PR)