AT least P822-million worth of various interventions has been allotted for farmers and fisherfolk affected by Typhoon Maring that caused damage to major crops, livestock, and fishery products, mostly in Northern Luzon, particularly in Regions 1, 2, and Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR).
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that amount is just an initial allotment in order to immediately provide assistance to the affected farmers and fisherfolk.
“We will continue to provide our typhoon and flood-affected farmers and fisherfolk in Northern Luzon and other areas with immediate aid and much-needed assistance to recover and start anew after the damage and loss in their livelihood and income,” Dar said.
Of the total P822-million assistance, P650 million is allotted for the provision of emergency loans to affected farmers and fishers under the SURE Calamity Loan Assistance Program through the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC).
Each affected household can borrow P20,000, at zero interest, no collateral, and payable in 10 years.
Aside from the agricultural loan, the DA has allotted P172 M under its Quick Response Fund (QRF) for the rehabilitation of affected areas in Regions 1,2, and CAR.
Dar disclosed that these interventions are separated from the regular assistance provided by the DA to farmers and fishers affected by typhoons and other natural calamities.
Ready for distribution are: close to 169,000 bags of certified rice seeds, 16,600 bags of certified corn seeds, and 1,480 kilograms of assorted vegetable seeds; drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry; as well as indemnification for affected farmers/fishers from Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).
As of Oct. 13, the estimated damage to agriculture has amounted to P692 million with 32,392 farmers and fisherfolk affected.
Damages and losses recorded were mostly on rice (P498 million),corn (P120 million), high-value crops (P56 million), livestock and poultry (P6 million) and fisheries (P12 million).
Dar said that the damage could have been more massive had it not been for the early DA advisories and early warning system that enabled farmers and fishers to harvest early their crops and fishery products.
Due to early planting and harvesting, about 60 percent of the wet season rice crop was already harvested.
Farmers were also forewarned to save their respective crops and livestock, including harvest of mature crops, draining of fields to avoid flooding, securing livestock to higher ground, and pruning of fruit trees, among other needed precautions.
As a result, more than P2.86-billion worth of rice and corn were saved due to said early warning system. For rice, some 141,635 metric tons (MT) worth P2.08 billion in Regions 1 and 2 were harvested, while corn farmers in Region 2 were able to save 55,654 MT worth P779.15 million.