DA launches rehab program for Bicol agri sector

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has started distributing livelihood and production assistance to the agro-fishery sector in the Bicol region affected by Typhoon Glenda as part of the agency’s rehabilitation blueprint for the typhoon-ravaged region.

Dubbed as “Bicol Rehabilitation Assistance for Glenda – Agriculture Sector,” the rebuilding plan entails the provision of production support – composed of various machineries, fishing boats and gears, replacement seeds of rice and corn and other planting materials, and new stocks of animals – to various agri-fishery stakeholders in Bicol’s six provinces so that they could replant or resume fishing at the soonest possible time.

An initial P6 million worth of various agriculture support has already been turned over by DA Secretary Proceso Alcala las Friday to affected farmers and fisherfolk in the province of Sorsogon.

Alcala is also scheduled to visit other typhoon-battered areas in the region on Thursday and Friday to personally oversee the turnover of assistance and to meet with local officials on how to fast-track the rebuilding efforts.

In Sorsogon, the first batch of assistance included 5 units of handtractors, various garden tools, 10 units of motorized bancas, 1,000 bags of palay seeds, 200 bags of OPV and hybrid corn seeds, nearly 8,000 sachets of assorted vegetables, 3 modules of goats and sheep, 8,000 pieces of pili nut seedlings and eight heads of carabao with implements.

Two trucks filled with vegetables from Benguet such as potatoes, carrots, sayote and cabbage were also delivered to barangay food terminals and other accredited outlets across the province.

The vegetable delivery is part of the DA’s market infusion initiative to help maintain sufficient and affordable supply of basic food items locally.

In addition, Alcala has instructed DA Regional Field Unit 5 Dir. Abelardo Bragas to coordinate with the mayors of affected municipalities in Sorsogon for his commitment of additional bags of rice and corn seeds.

Sorsogon is one of the provinces hardest hit by typhoon Glenda.

Latest available data from the DA showed total estimated losses in crops, livestock, fisheries and infrastructure in the province stood at P318.7 million.

In rice alone, some 3,700 Sorsogueño palay farmers lost an estimated 8,935 metric tons of palay worth P50 million.

Overall, the agri-fishery sector in the entire Bicol region suffered damages valued at P3.9 billion, with Camarines Sur and Albay reporting the biggest losses, at P2.43 billion and P940.1 million, respectively.

An estimated 80,435 farmers and fishers were affected by the typhoon across Bicol.

Meanwhile, Alcala assured that his department, with the cooperation and support of the local government units (LGUs), would sustain the efforts to rehabilitate the Bicol agri-sector. (PNA) LAM/CMR/PIMEDIDAS