Bicol farmers appeal for immediate assistance

Published November 25, 2020, 7:12 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Farmers from Bicol are appealing for immediate assistance from the government to help them recover from the impact of successive typhoons that badly hit the region. 

(UNSPLASH / MANILA BULLETIN)

Camarines Sur, one of the country’s top rice-producing provinces, is among those severely affected by Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.

Ramon Oliva said the typhoons damaged most of the crops, including palay, after these were washed out, while the irrigation canals were destroyed. He is a rice farmer of Damayan nin Paraoma han Camarines Sur.

He lamented palay prices were pegged at P11 per kilo, but after the onslaught of typhoons, palay prices further dropped to P4-P6 per kilo.

“Wala nang bibili ng palay dahil basa (No one would buy unmilled rice because it’s wet,” Oliva said.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bicol (KMB) expects a lower palay production and harvest in the region as a result of the destructive typhoons.

The damage to agriculture, fisheries, and livestock caused by the typhoons worth around P5.5 billion based on the Nov. 20 report of the Bicol Office of Civil Defense.

Ulysses alone, on the other hand, destroyed irrigation facilities valued at P158 million in Bicol.

In Zone 1 and Zone 5 Libon, Albay, irrigation canals and local dams for rice paddies were destroyed, prompting farmers to seek immediate help from the local National Irrigation Authority (NIA). 

“Nangabulok na ang mga palay dahil nababad sa tubig baha. Wala na kaming kikitain sa mga susunod na buwan. Kailangan namin ng tulong (The unmilled rice rotted because it got soaked in floodwaters. We will have no income in the coming months. We need help),” said Mario Talacsan of West Carsiac Farmers Association in Libon, Albay. 

Hermelina Fuentes of local farmer group SUMABAK KA in Albay said they are in need of food and relief packs.

 
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