CV suffers at least P3.3B agri damage

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THE Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas (DA 7) said partial damage assessment to agriculture and fishery due to Typhoon Odette (Rai) has amounted to P3.3 billion in the region.

DA 7 Executive Director Joel Elumba said as of Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, around 139,000 farmers and fisherfolk, particularly rice farmers in the region, had been heavily affected by the onslaught of the typhoon.

Elumba noted damage to almost 73,000 hectares of agricultural areas in the region.

He said the numbers are expected to rise as regional office personnel, together with the City or Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) of the typhoon-affected areas, are still conducting field assessment up to this day.

Elumba said crops such as corn, mango and coconut trees were among those devastated in the region, particularly in Cebu.

Apart from crops, small scale irrigation projects or infrastructure were damaged as well.

Elumba noted severe damage on the facilities of commercial farms in Cebu such as pig pens and poultry houses.

Partial recorded damage on livestock facilities alone has reached around P175 million excluding livestock animals.

Elumba said the DA 7 compound was not spared from the effects of the powerful typhoon as majority of their mango trees fell to the ground.

Bohol

The DA 7 is also closely monitoring the province of Bohol.

Since telecommunication lines have not been fully restored, the signal remains unstable and the damage assessment report from Bohol has not reached 40 to 50 percent, said Elumba.

He said the DA 7 believes all 48 towns in Bohol had been heavily affected.

Bohol, known as the “Rice Granary of Central Visayas,” is where most of the region’s rice is produced.

Elumba said the region was still fortunate as it was off season for corn and rice when the typhoon struck.

“So we can’t really say that corn and rice that were ready to harvest are gone. Our farmers were able to harvest (before Odette),” Elumba said in Cebuano although some farmers had crops that were damaged at their growing stage.

In Siquijor, banana trees were severely damaged, according to the DA 7 report.

Quick response fund

Elumba said they had sent a request for a partial quick response fund amounting to P300 million to the Central Office for agriculture interventions in the region.

Elumba hopes the request will be approved by the end of January 2022 so that they will be able to provide assistance to damaged areas.

A total of 36 cities and municipalities in Cebu Province were identified by DA 7 as heavily affected by Typhoon Odette in Cebu Province including Oslob in the south and Carmen in the north.

Seaweed farms from as far as Bantayan Island which did not fall directly within the typhoon’s path were also severely damaged.

Once their fund request is approved by the DA Central Office, Elumba said regardless of the amount, they will use the fund for the purchase and distribution of early maturing seeds and the restoration or repair of agricultural infrastructure that were severely damaged by Odette.

Loans

Elumba said the DA has an Agricultural Comprehensive Emergency Fund (ACEF) where small registered farmers can borrow P25,000 each.

For damaged piggeries and poultries, the DA will help facilitate bank loans amounting to P5 million up.

Rehabilitation

Elumba said they are now preparing an immediate rehabilitation plan involving buffer stocks of corn and rice seeds.

For Cebu, Elumba said they have 400 bags of corn seeds and 50 kilos of early maturing vegetable seeds such as pechay ang kangkong.

With early maturing seeds, he said farmers can harvest their crops as early as 25 to 30 days after they are sown.

Assorted vegetable seeds from the Central Office will also be distributed to the heavily affected farmers.

Supply and prices

Meanwhile, Elumba said they have not seen a significant increase in prices of basic commodities such as rice, vegetables and meat in Cebu.

Elumba said based on inventory, the province has sufficient rice supply.

There is also no reported shortage of pork in Cebu although some pig pens were destroyed.

But he noted that prices of fish products were a bit high due to the bad weather.

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