Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar said Monday assured on Monday, Oct. 18, of sufficient agricultural products to sustain in the coming days until farmers are able to recover from the calamity amid the devastation wrought by tropical storm “Maring” last week.
“Ang nakikita natin pwede namang punuan yung kakulangan as a result of typhoon Maring (We see that we can work on the supplies as a result of typhoon Maring),” said Dar in an online press conference.
“Punuan natin galing sa iba’t ibang probinsya na hindi nasalanta (We can get from other provinces not affected by typhoon), so we’ll mobilize more of these products na hindi badly affected gaya ng (like) vegetables and fruits, this will come from other provinces not affected by typhoon. It will be good enough to handle itong na-damage (the damage),” he added.
Based on the assessment of the department, the damage in agriculture in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-B, 5, 6 and 12, as well as the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has now reached P2.1 billion – majority of which were rice and corn.
However, Dar expressed confidence that the country would be able to sustain it by mobilizing other products from other regions.
He said they already mobilized agricultural products from two regions, as well as other provinces to provide their products near Metro Manila like Rizal, Batangas, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan.
Dar said that the agricultural sector from the farming community and fishery division were advised ahead of time prior to the storm through the early warning system of the department.
“As a result of this early warning system we have saved about P2.8 billion worth of product. Kung wala itong (If we don’t have an) early warning system mas mataas pa sana ang damage sa agricultura (the damage could have been higher),” he said.
Last week, the department also rolled out a total of P1.5 billion worth of agri-fishery interventions to aid farmers and fisherfolk affected by the storm.
Of the total P1.5 billion assistance, P650 million is allotted to provide emergency loans to affected farmers and fisherfolk under the SURE Calamity Loan Assistance Program through the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC).
Affected households can borrow P20,000 each, at zero interest, no collateral, and payable in 10 years.
Aside from the agricultural loan, the DA has also set aside P172 million under its Quick Response Fund (QRF) to rehabilitate affected areas in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, SOCCSKSARGEN and CAR.
At least P370 million worth of crop insurance was also made available by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to indemnify affected farmers in CAR, Regions 1, 2, 3, and MIMAROPA.
Dar also assured the availability and rapid dispersal of rice, seeds, and other planting materials to affected farmers.