DA Bicol: P4.1-B losses in crops due to typhoon Nina

LEGAZPI CITY (PNA) – The total losses in the production of rice, corn and high-value crops, including vegetables and fruit trees, that cover a total of around 80,000 hectares of farmlands, due to typhoon Nina have reached Php 4.1 billion, said the Office of Civil Defense in (OCD) Bicol.

“The Department of Agriculture (DA) (in its report to OCD) has estimated the value of production losses at Php4.1 billion,” said Bernardo Rafael Alejandro, head of OCD-Bicol and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC).

He said there was a total of 80,087 hectares of farmlands affected: rice areas-56,593 hectares, corn areas-11,235 hectares, and high value crops, including vegetables and fruit trees-12,259 hectares.

Alejandro said the total number of affected farmers in the region were 82,793, most of them from Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Albay. Of this number, 72,766 were rice farmers, 6,962-corn farmers and 3,065-high value crop farmers.

He said the national government has announced the release of P50 million in the form of palay seeds to help farmers recoup their losses by planting anew.

“Bicol region is expecting another P50 million based on the recommendation of DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to President Rodrigo Duterte,” said Alejandro.

DA-Bicol has also committed to augment the budget release of the national government for the rehabilitation of affected farmers with funds derived from the available calamity funds of the region, added Alejandro.

He said DA-Bicol has buffer stocks of around 6,000 bags of palay seeds. Aside from this, it will buy 5,000 bags of certified palay seeds, 6,000 bags of hybrid palay seeds, 3,000 bags of hybrid corn seeds, 1,000 kilograms of vegetable seeds, 50,000 pieces of fruit trees and 30,000 kgs of urea fertilizers for rice and corn farmers.

In its report to OCD-Bicol, DA Bicol said it will also provide 40 heads of carabaos, 5,000 ducks, 5,000 native chickens and 10 units of incubators.

DA-Bicol said it soon also provide 1,000 units of farm tools and additional tractors. It also earmarked funds for the repair of small-scale irrigation facilities and flatbed dryers, vaccines and animal feeds.

OCD-Bicol said an initial Php500 million has been earmarked by the national government for the rehabilitation of the fishery sector.

He said some Php55 million of the fund will be used for the immediate rehabilitation of the abaca industry in Catanduanes, release of rice seeds and fertilizers for an estimated 5,000 hectares of rice land and repair of fisheries’ infrastructures damaged by the typhoon.

Alejandro said 85 percent or 27,936 hectares of the 33,000 hectares planted to standing abaca plants in Catanduanes suffered heavy damage due to the typhoon.

Catanduanes is deemed the biggest single producer of abaca in the world today with farmers earning around P100 million from the natural fiber.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education-Bicol reported to OCD that five schools in Catanduanes suffered heavy damage from typhoon Nina.

The Albay Provincial Veterinary Services reported that the initial damage to livestock and poultry has amounted to Php 1.2 million.

Dr. Florencio Adonay, provincial veterinary officer, said most of the livestock drowned during the typhoon while poultry suffered due to hypothermia.

He said the affected farmers and livestock owners will be given technical assistance by the provincial government and DA, “including replenishment of their livestock.” (PNA)