Odette’s damage to agri sector still rising

Published December 21, 2021, 4:00 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Department of Agriculture (DA) expects further rise in losses and damage the agriculture sector sustained from Super Typhoon Odette – which now stood at more than half a billion pesos.

The same observation was noted by Federation of Free Farmers Board Chairman Leonardo Montemayor, who said that damage to irrigation and other agriculture-related infrastructure has yet to be taken into account by the government.

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As of Tuesday, the DA has already taken into account P525-million worth of damage and losses to 30,192 hectares of agricultural areas across several regions as a result of Typhoon Odette. Regions affected were CALABARZON, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Central Mindanao, Davao, and Caraga.

“Additional damage and losses are expected in areas affected by Odette,” the DA said.

Based on the latest report of DA Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Operation Center, the recorded damage and losses so far covered 24,812 metric tons of agricultural production and 19,677 affected farmers and fishers.

Affected commodities include rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock, and fisheries.

The DA, through its Regional Field Offices (RFOs), is still conducting an assessment of damage and losses brought by Odette in the agriculture and fisheries sector.

The agency said it is continuously working with other concerned national government agencies, local government units, and other DRRM-related offices for the impact of Odette, as well as to identify available resources for interventions and assistance.

Montemayor said it is still hard to speculate how much damage Odette has really done to the agricultural sector, adding that its impact may be felt as late the first and second quarter of 2022.

“For rice, [the impact will not be felt] so much for this year, as dry season crop still in early stages of growth. But in these [affected] areas and those areas about to start planting, a lot will depend on how quickly the government can provide palay seeds and crop insurance payments,” Montemayor said in a text exchange.

“The impact will be felt in palay harvest first or second quarter 2022. Losses in coconut may also be heavy,” he added.

Earlier, the DA announced that it will release assistance and interventions amounting to P1.35 billion to help farmers and fishermen recover from the disaster.

This included P1-billion worth of Quick Response Fund (QRF) for the rehabilitation of affected areas; P148-million worth of rice seeds, P57.6-million worth of corn seeds, P44.6-million worth of assorted vegetables; P100-million credit assistance under the Survival and Recovery (SURE) Assistance Program of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC); P1.64-million worth of fingerlings and assistance to affected fisherfolk from Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR); P 625,150 worth of drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry needs from RFO V; and available funds from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to indemnify farmers to be affected.

 
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