‘Maring’ damage to agriculture sector may top P609 M

Published October 13, 2021, 4:53 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The damage that severe tropical storm Maring has brought to the country’s agriculture sector has already ballooned to more than half a billion peso, but is likely to increase further since the Department of Agriculture (DA) is yet to fully assess the impact to farm production.

Latest report from the DA’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) showed that as of Wednesday, Oct. 13, Maring’s damage and losses in the agriculture sector already amounted to P608.50 million.

Photo from Philippine News Agency

So far, the DA’s DRRMC recorded 29,063 affected farmers from Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, CagayanValley, Central Luzon, Bicol Region and Western Visayas.

In addition, production losses of around 36,354 metric tons (MT) were recorded from as much as 32,882 hectares of affected agricultural areas.

Affected commodities include rice, corn, high value crops, livestock, and fisheries. These values are subject to validation, DA noted.

As of Wednesday, Maring has already left the Philippine Area of Responsibility, but it continued to bring rains over some areas in the country like Bataan, Zambales, Occidental Mindoro, and Palawan.

Based on the combined data of affected regions, the area of standing crops that may be affected by Maring totals to 1.46 million hectares, which account for 77.98 percent of the national standing crops for rice and 57.98 percent of the national standing crops for corn.

But then, DA said that prior to Maring, a total area of 28,952 hectares of rice have been harvested from Regions I and II, with an equivalent production of 141,635 MT valued at P2.08 billion.

As for corn, a total of 13,776 hectares have been harvested from Region II, with an equivalent production of 55,654 MT valued at P779.15 million.

The DA said that through its Regional Field Offices (RFOs), it continues to conduct assessment and validation of damage and losses brought by Maring in the agriculture and fisheries sector.

“The DA will continue to coordinate with concerned NGAs [national government agencies], LGUs [local government units] and other DRRM-related offices for the impact of Maring, as well as available resources for interventions and assistance,” DA said.

On Tuesday, Arnel De Mesa, assistant secretary for operations of the DA, said the agency has P300 million left under its Quick Response Fund (QRF) that could be used to assist farmers and fishermen that were affected by Maring.

QRF is a built-in fund allocation that serves as a standby budget that certain agencies can tap to immediately assist areas stricken by catastrophes and crises. It regularly gets replenished by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Aside from the QRF, the DA is now preparing other interventions for farmers and fishermen affected by Maring, including the distribution of rice, corn, and assorted seeds as well as drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry needs.

The DA is also preparing the release of Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Program facilitated by Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), as well as the available funds from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to indemnify affected farmers.

DA said emergency loan assistance from ACPC totaling to P500 million is now being prepared. As part of this, up to P20,000 will be provided with zero interest and no collateral, payable in 10 years.