The Department of Agriculture (DA) is setting aside P822 million to bankroll various interventions that will ease the suffering of farmers and fishermen affected by Severe Tropical Storm Maring.
Maring has caused damage to major crops, livestock, and fishery products, mostly in Northern Luzon.
Of the total allotted budget, P650 million will be spent to provide emergency loans to affected farmers and fishers under the SURE Calamity Loan Assistance Program of DA’s 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 million under its Quick Response Fund (QRF) for the rehabilitation of affected areas in Regions 1, 2, and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
The DA said these interventions are over and above the regular assistance provided by the agency to farmers and fishers affected by typhoons and other natural calamities.
Meanwhile, the agency is preparing the distribution of close to 169,000 bags of certified rice seeds; 16,600 bags of certified corn seeds; 1,480 kilograms of assorted vegetable seeds; and drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry.
The agency is also preparing to pay indemnification to affected farmers/fishers through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).
“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,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
As of October 13, the estimated damage of Maring to the country’s agriculture sector has already amounted to P692 million, with as many as 32,392 farmers and fisherfolks affected.
Damages and losses were recorded mostly on rice (about P498 million), corn (P120 million), high value crops (P56 million), livestock and poultry (P6 million), and fisheries (P12 million).
As this happens, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) is now seeking immediate help for farmers affected by the onslaught of the latest flooding.
In Ilocos Sur province, where modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) is imposed in two cities and 24 towns, typhoon stricken farmers are seeking immediate relief assistance from the government and private institutions.
Danilo Ramos of KMP said the latest calamity will further take a toll on the situation of farmers who are still reeling from the effects of lockdowns due to rising COVID cases.
He said that right now, farmers and residents are asking for food, clean drinking water, relief goods, and hygiene kits.
Meanwhile, La Union and Cordillera provinces were also severely affected. KMP expressed concerns that the latest flooding will further devastate farmers’ livelihood.
Dar said the other day that the recent typhoon’s damage to the agriculture sector could have been more massive had it not been for the early DA advisories and early warning system, which 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 field to avoid flooding, securing livestock to higher ground, and pruning of fruit trees, among other needed precautions,” DA said.
DA claimed that as a result of its early warning system, more than P2.86 billion worth of rice and corn. 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.