THE total amount of damages in agriculture caused by the eruption of Taal volcano has already reached to P577.39-million.
According to the report of the Department of Agriculture CALABARZON, among the commodities affected by the ashfall include rice, corn, coffee, cacao, banana and high value crops while 2,772 hectares of farmland and 1,967 animal head were also affected.
DA Secretary William Dar assured that immediate assistance will be provided to affected farmers and fisherfolks.
The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), meanwhile, said that despite the agricultural damages caused by the volcanic eruption, such event also contributes to the “birth of soil” as it renews and replenishes the nutrients; improving soil fertility on medium to long term.
The BSWM shall conduct soil sampling, analysis, and mapping of extent of fresh volcanic ash deposits affecting agricultural areas. Moreover, water resources will also be surveyed and mapped.
The DA said that a total of P21.7-million worth of combined interventions for crops and livestock will be distributed by DA CALABARZON to 17 LGUS including Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Talisay, Lemery, Laurel, Lipa City, San Jose, Nasugbu, Mataas na Kahoy, Balete, Cuenca, Alitagtag, Padre Garcia, Tanauan City, Malvar and Taal.
Dar said these interventions include provision of livestock for restocking and rice and corn seeds, high value crops planting materials and other production inputs.
The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has available drugs and biologics to be provided for the affected livestock. Also, two trucks are available to mobilize the affected areas for animal rescue and evacuation.
As for the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), a total of 5,000 coffee mother plants and 1,000 cacao seedlings are ready for distribution for damaged coffee and cacao areas.
While the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will prepare immediate assistance in the form of fingerlings (7M fingerlings for tilapia; 20,000 for Ulang; 50,000 for hito; 100,000 for Bighead Carp; and 5,000 fingerlings for Ayungin) once aquaculture operation in the Lake will resume.
The estimated production loss of 15,033 metric tons in the fisheries sector may reduce the supply of tilapia in Metro Manila.
In view of this, the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) and BFAR are eyeing CAR Region III, Laguna and Rizal as sources of tilapia which will be distributed to Metro Manila markets in coordination with the City Mayors and Market Masters. Moreover, BFAR will be providing production loan for tilapia producers in Central Luzon to intensify production.
The National Food Authority (NFA), on the other hand, has an initial stock of 168,758 bags of rice ready for distribution in areas affected by the Taal Volcano Eruption.
NFA Administrator Judy Dansal guaranteed that the rice stocks are safe for human consumption as they are stored in properly maintained warehouses away from ashfall.
The Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) has an initial amount of Php 30M ready to provide to Rural Bank of Mt. Carmel as funds for the implementation of Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Assistance that will benefit around 1,200 farmers/fisherfolk in Batangas.
In addition, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) has available and enough funds to pay for the indemnity of the affected insured farmers and fisherfolk.
The DA AMAS, Regional Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Divisions (AMADs) and BFAR continuously monitor the price and source food supply for Metro Manila markets as per Dar’s instruction.
The DA, through its Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Operations Center, will continue to issue regular bulletins regarding the Taal Volcano Eruption.