STEADY SUPPLY. The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday (Aug. 3, 2022) says the supply and prices of highland vegetables are steady despite the July 27 earthquake in northern Luzon. Dr. Cameron Odsey, regional director of the DA in Cordillera, said they see highland vegetable trading to remain normal even as the region continues to experience a low-intensity earthquake. (Screenshot of the report.
BAGUIO CITY – The damage to agriculture and infrastructure caused by the magnitude 7 earthquake that rocked Northern Luzon last week has now reached almost PHP18 million but the Department of Agriculture in the Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR) assured the public that the supply of vegetables from the region remained unhampered.

Dr. Cameron Odsey, regional director of the DA-CAR, said on Wednesday that the DA-CAR has recorded a PHP17,919,776 damage in the region, mostly in Abra -- where the quake's epicenter was traced -- with P11,844,776.

The damage was recorded on livestock, irrigation and farm-to-market roads in Danglas, Lagayan, Lagangilang, San Quintin, San Juan, Bangued, Bucay and Villaviciosa.

"This is initial in Abra and at the municipalities. We expect the damage information to increase as reports continue to arrive and are validated," the director said.

Kalinga recorded initial damage of PHP2.45 million; Benguet with PHP1.3 million; and Mountain Province with PHP925,000.

Odsey said they have requested the release of PHP148 million to purchase seeds for the affected farmers, fertilizer vouchers and for the rice farmers' financial assistance.

"The central office has responded that they are facilitating/ coordinating with DBM (Department of Budget and Management) for the release of the notice of transfer allocation (NTA), especially for Abra," Odsey said.

He also said that DA-CAR personnel are now preparing the necessary documents ready for distribution once the fund is available this week.

Odsey added that they will continue to assist the victims thru the "Kadiwa on Wheels" which they immediately rolled out two days after the earthquake rocked Abra the most last July 27.

Enough veggies

Despite the damage to irrigation and farm-to-market roads, Odsey said: "There is no drastic change in volume and prices observed before and after the occurrence of the earthquake."

He said that based on monitoring, over two million kilograms of assorted highland vegetables are available for trading everyday despite the July 27 tremor.

Data from the DA showed that 2,069 metric tons of vegetables were available on July 26, a day before the quake. On July 27, the day of the tremor, 2,015 metric tons of vegetables were recorded. A day after, the supply went down to 1,636 metric tons but picked up again on July 29 with 2,292 metric tons. On July 30, 31, and August 1, vegetable supply was at 2,082 metric tons and 1,938 metric tons, and 2,119 metric tons, respectively.

Meanwhile, the traded supply on the following dates from July 26 to August 1 was 1,706 metric tons; 1,804 metric tons; 1,432 metric tons; 1,939 metric tons; 1,747 metric tons; 1,570 metric tons; and 1,795 metric tons, respectively.

The record said the little decrease in vegetable quantity and those traded a day after the earthquake was due to some damage and roadblocks.

He said, "the usual quantity returned to normal immediately."

The DA said most of the supply - around 400,000 kilograms - was brought to the Divisoria Market in Manila. About half was brought to the Balintawak Market, while the others were transported to the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and areas "across the sea" or "tawid dagat."

Odsey added, "It can be assumed that the normal trading operations will continue while continuously experiencing low-intensity aftershocks." (PNA)