Recent rains’ damage to agri sector rise to nearly P700-M

Published August 2, 2021, 1:37 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The recent rains – Southwest Monsoon enhanced by Typhoon Fabian – have already brought damage and losses of nearly P700 million to the country’s farm sector, affecting thousands of farmers.

Based on the latest report of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRM), the amount of damage and losses the agriculture sector incurred from recent rains now stood at P698.76 million.

So far, records show there are 26,932 affected farmers who lost about 14,175 metric tons (MT) of agricultural production. Affected commodities include rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock, poultry, and fisheries. Some farm infrastructures were also affected.

The affected areas covered 33,971 hectares of agricultural land in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, and Western Visayas.

Based on reports of CAR, Regions I, II, III, CALABARZON, and MIMAROPA, there is no reported damage on road networks and bridges that can affect accessibility and mobility of food supplies to date.

The DA, through its Regional Field Offices, is now conducting further assessment and validation of damage and losses brought by the recent rains in the agri-fisheries sector.

The agency said it is likewise in close coordination with concerned national government agencies, local government units, and other DRRM-related offices for the available resources for interventions and assistance.

As part of its own efforts, however, the DA was already able to distribute a total of 121,119 bags of rice seeds, 14,832 bags of corn seeds, and 2,199 kilograms of assorted vegetables in CAR, Regions I, II, III, CALABARZON, and MIMAROPA.

The agency is also now preparing to release a portion of its Quick Response Fund (QRF) for the rehabilitation of affected areas, while an attached agency to DA, the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), is preparing its Survival and Recovery (SURE) loan program. Insurance funds from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to indemnify affected farmers will also be made available.

Last week, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) had sought Congress to grant a P15,000 production subsidy for small farmers during calamities.

“Torrential rains and flooding due to Fabian caused severe effects to farmers in land preparation for the upcoming planting season. As the typhoon and monsoon season started, we can expect more calamities affecting the agriculture and fisheries sector,” KMP said in a statement. “The government must find diligent ways to immediately give the P15,000 production subsidy to farmers and fisherfolk”.

KMP proceeded to urge Congress to include the production subsidy and cash aid demands of sectors in the 2022 national budget, especially as budget deliberations are due to start soon.