DA ‘thoroughly’ assessing Ursula’s damage to agri sector

Published December 26, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

Agriculture Secretary William Dar has ordered the “thorough” assessment of what exactly the damages and losses incurred by the agriculture sector due to Typhoon Ursula, which ravaged thousands of hectares of farms in MIMAROPA, Bicol region, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, among other areas.

In its latest update, the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRM) said that the initial damage assessment from Typhoon Ursula is still being conducted by the agency’s Regional Field Offices in MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas.

“Figures on the extent of damages brought by the typhoon on the agri-fisheries sector are being consolidated and subjected to field validation,” DA said.

This was after Agriculture Secretary William Dar has instructed the respective DA and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional directors in MIMAROPA, Bicol, and in Eastern, Western and Central Visayas to thoroughly assess damages to crops, livestock and fisheries, including farm infrastructures and buildings, and thereafter provide needed emergency assistance to affected farmers and fisherfolk.

Teams from the affected regions were already deployed to conduct Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) and field validation to the affected areas.

Despite the expected damages and losses brought by Ursula, the rain was seen beneficial for the crops in Region III since the farmers in the region just started with their land preparation and planting, DA said.

The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) is now fast-tracking the release of indemnity to farmers and fisherfolks hit by the typhoon.

In addition, the Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC) has also coordinated with the affected regions for the provision of emergency loan under the Survival Recovery (SURE) Program for assistance.

Earlier, DA said that given its tracks, Ursula may affect standing crops in Regions IV-A, MIMAROPA, V, VI, VII, VIII and Caraga totaling to 356,640 hectares of farms. Of this, 318,694 hectares are planted to rice and 37,946 hectares for corn.

For rice, areas under reproductive and maturity stages are 105,682 hectares (33 percent) and 62,552 hectares (19 percent), respectively. While for corn, areas under reproductive and maturity stages are 10,466 hectares (28 percent) and 8,432 hectares (22 percent), respectively.

Even before Ursula made a landfall in the country, Dar already told farmers to harvest their mature crops immediately, and in other cases delay planting until weather conditions are favorable for planting.

Just earlier this month, the country’s agriculture sector also incurred P4-billion worth of damages and losses because of Typhoon Tisoy, supposedly the strongest typhoon to hit the country for this year.