The Philippine agriculture sector is now reeling from more than P6-billion worth of damage and losses eight days after Typhoon Odette, the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, made several landfalls in many parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
Based on the latest report of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DA-DRRM) Operation Center, the farm sector’s Odette-related damage and losses already rose to P6 billion as of Monday evening, compared to P331 million worth of damages recorded exactly a week ago.
The losses, which so far covered 118,426 metric tons (MT) of agricultural production and 288,677 hectares of agricultural areas, have been reported in several regions, namely CALABARZON, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao, SOCCSKSARGEN, and Caraga.
To date, 68,991 farmers and fishers were reportedly affected by the typhoon, while commodities include rice, corn, high-value crops, coconut, livestock, and fisheries.
Damage has also been incurred in agricultural infrastructures, machinery, and equipment, according to DA-DRRM.
“Additional damage and losses are expected in areas affected by Odette,” DA-DRRM added in its latest update.
As the damage continues to rise, the DA’s budget for assistance and rehabilitation also went up from just P1.3 billion last week to P2.9 billion as of Monday evening.
The P2.9 billion will comprise of P1-billion worth of Quick Response Fund (QRF) for the rehabilitation of affected areas; P828-million from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to indemnify affected farmers; and P500-million under the Survival and Recovery (SURE) Assistance Program of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) for farmers and fishermen.
Aside from that, P314 million have been set aside for the distribution of rice seeds; P129 million for corn seeds; P57 million for assorted vegetables; and P47 million for affected fisherfolk from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). P6.6 million worth of animal stocks, drugs, and biologics will also be made available for livestock and poultry.
Likewise, there will be “available funds from Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)” to assist affected coconut farmers, said DA-DRRM.
“The DA-DRRM Operations Center will continuously provide updates regarding Odette,” the DA said.
“The DA continuously coordinates with concerned NGAs [national government agencies], LGUs [local government units], and other DRRM-related offices for the impact of Odette, as well as available resources for interventions and assistance,” it added.