By Adora Rodriguez, DA-AFID
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is readying interventions under its P700-million (M) Quick Response Fund (QRF) after conducting field validation of ‘Typhoon Ambo’ affected areas in Eastern Visayas and Luzon.
“We will use the QRF to rehabilitate affected areas and help farmers and fishers who suffered the brunt of ‘Ambo’ that damaged P1.14-billion worth of crops and fishery resources, where close to three-fourths or 69 percent belong to the high-value crops sub-sector,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
“Total damage to banana, assorted vegetables, and papaya amounted to P793 M, as ‘Ambo’ toppled and flooded said crops,” Secretary Dar said.
For rice and corn, initial reports showed that combined damage totaled P301.7 M.
The fisheries sub-sector incurred a loss of P25.5 M, while the livestock sector posted a loss of P23.4 M.
“We were fortunate that the losses were not that heavy, as we issued early warning and pro-active recommendations to our regional field offices several days before the weather disturbance touched down in eastern Visayas,” he added.
“In particular, we advised farmers to harvest their mature rice and corn crops, and fishers to refrain from going out to sea and secure their boats and nets at safer areas,” the DA chief said.
He directed the prepositioning of rice, corn and vegetable seeds in regions 1, 3, 4A, 5, 6, 7, 8, and Cordillera.
These included 109,586 bags of rice seeds, 10,116 bags of corn seeds, and 1,195 kilograms of vegetable seeds. Animal drugs and other biologics for livestock and poultry were also distributed.
In addition, the DA through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) is set to grant an initial indemnity of P90.5 M to about 11,500 farmers and fishermen, who availed of insurance coverage.
“The number of beneficiaries might still go up as we conduct further adjustment and validation of more affected areas. We have given strict instructions to our personnel to conduct the adjustment activities and process the indemnity payments soonest,” said PCIC President Jovy Bernabe in his report to Secretary Dar.
“Again, we would like to highlight the importance of our farmers insuring their crops, livestock animals, and other farm equipment and facilities, as this guarantees that they will get back their investments whenever weather disturbances like ‘Typhoon Ambo’ and other natural calamities occur,” Secretary Dar said.
He added that the DA continues to provide assistance and support to those affected by the recent weather disturbance, amid the challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Tuloy-tuloy po ang suporta at ayuda ng Kagawaran sa mga naapektuhan ng bagyo, ganun din po sa mga dumaranas ng malaking pagsubok dahil sa Covid-19. Ang inyo pong pamahalaan sa pamumuno ni Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte ay laging nandito upang buong-pusong maglingkod sa inyong lahat,” he concluded