'Maring’ damage to agri sector now at P1.2 billion

Published October 15, 2021, 3:50 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The damage that Severe Tropical Storm Maring has brought to the country’s agriculture sector has already breached the P1-billion mark, incurring more production losses and damaging thousands of hectares of agricultural areas.

Latest report from the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) showed that the damage and losses that the agriculture sector incurred from Maring surged from P1.17 billion as of Thursday evening to P1.2 billion as of Friday.

The DA was so far able to take into account 42,787 affected farmers and fishermen from Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, CagayanValley, Central Luzon, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and SOCCSKSARGEN.

Their combined production losses stood at 68,891 metric tons (MT) of farm commodities, including rice, corn, high value crops, livestock, and fisheries. Damaged agricultural areas stood at 61,234 hectares.

Right now, the DA has not yet fully assessed and validated the extent of the damage and losses brought about 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.

As part of its interventions, the DA will release Quick Response Fund (QRF) amounting to P172 million for the rehabilitation of affected areas, and emergency loan assistance from Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) totaling to P650 million wherein an amount of up to P20,000 will be provided with zero interest and no collateral, payable in 10 years.

Funds from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) will also be made available to indemnify affected farmers, according to the DA.

This, while immediate assistance includes the distribution of a total of 168,998 bags of rice seeds, 16,601 bags of corn seeds, and 1,480 kilograms of assorted vegetables from affected regions; drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry needs.

The other day, the DA said it will set aside a total amount of P822 million to bankroll various interventions that will ease the suffering of farmers and fishermen affected by Severe Tropical Storm Maring.

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.

KMP Chairperson Danilo Ramos 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.