Bicol agriculture suffers P53.71-M damage due to 'Quinta'

PILI, Camarines Sur (Bicol Standard)—The agriculture sector in Bicol incurred over P53.71 million worth of losses following the onslaught of typhoon Quinta over the weekend, the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 5 announced.

Based on the initial and partial report from the field, some 1,355.16 hectares of rice, corn, high value crops, livestock and poultry were reported damaged, with a total production loss of 2,329.91 metric tons.

Damage to infrastructures and properties in the various facilities of the DA was also recorded.

Rice production was the hardest hit, with initial losses of 1,961.57 metric tons, amounting to more than P33 million from 780.60 hectares damaged rice areas in the six provinces.

This represents only 0.62% of the standing rice crop in the region prior to the occurrence of the typhoon which was 125,787.85 hectares.

Meanwhile, high value crops incurred an initial 25.18 metric tons of losses from 32.95 hectares damaged areas worth over P8 million in Albay, Camarines Sur and Masbate.

The standing high value crops prior to the typhoon for lowland vegetables and fruits covered more than 15,576 hectares.

About 343.15 metric tons from 541.61 hectares of corn areas in Camarines Sur, Albay, Camarines Norte and Masbate were also damaged, valued at more than P10 million.

Before the typhoon, corn covered some 6,204 hectares.

Meantime, damage to livestock in the six provinces was estimated at over P1 million.

Damage to infrastructure and properties in various DA facilities is initially estimated at P340,000.

Immediately after the typhoon, Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla met with the regional officials and staff headed by Regional Technical Director for Operations Luz R. Marcelino, OIC-Field Operations Division Chief Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez, banner program coordinators and report officers to assess the damage, prepare the immediate assistance and the rehabilitation plan for the affected farmers.

Tornilla noted that because of the issuance of Special Farm Weather Outlook and Advisory for Bicol region days before the typhoon, many rice farmers were able to harvest their produce using the 77 units of combine harvesters, deployed in the six provinces of the region, with a capacity of one hectare for two to three hours.

Using quantum geographic information system (GIS), the DA-Bicol Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) unit was able to forecast the typhoon track and came up with a buffer zone tracking to assess and monitor municipalities with possible severe damages to crops.

Tornilla also ensured that the agency had sufficient buffer stock of seeds, fertilizers, as well as animal feeds and biologics to be distributed to affected farmers.

These include an aggregate of 4,156 bags of hybrid, certified and registered palay seeds; 3,949 bags of open pollinated white flint corn, GMO yellow and conventional hybrid yellow corn seeds; 31,225 packets and 4,552 pouches of assorted vegetable seeds; 465 bags of calcium carbonate, 220 bags of plant growth enhancers and 206 bags of foliar fertilizers.

Currently, the DA-Bicol remains on alert as another brewing storm, which has a similar track with Quinta, threatens to hit the region later this week. (Emilia B. Bordado and Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V with reports from Bjorn Borris D. De los Santos and Alton G. Bascuña, DA-Bicol DRRM Unit)