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Typhoon-affected farmers, fishers get P8.5B gov’t aid

AN initial amount of P8.5 billion worth of various interventions have been disbursed and distributed to farmers and fisherfolk to help them recover from the ravages left by a series of typhoons that hit Luzon in October and November.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the immediate release of the assistance is part of the government’s commitment to continue providing for typhoon and flood-affected farmers and fisherfolk in Luzon and other areas with immediate and much-needed assistance to tide them over and start anew.

The DA family sincerely commiserates with thousands of our countrymen who were displaced and whose livelihoods were adversely affected. Our assistance and interventions may not be enough, but we will extend all the possible help to handhold them until they are back on their feet, and farm and fish again so they can ably provide adequate food and incomes for their families,” Dar added.

Meanwhile, DA Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan said the interventions comprise of quality seeds of inbred and hybrid rice, corn and vegetables; cassava seed pieces; fertilizers; farm machinery and equipment; ready-to-lay chicken, ducks, quails, goats, native pigs, and other livestock animals; animal feeds, veterinary drugs and biologics; fingerlings, fiberglass fishing boats; and post harvest equipment. Of the total P8.5-billion assistance, the bulk was extended to farmers and fishers in Cagayan Valley and Bicol, the two hardest-hit regions, receiving P2.34 billion and P1.07 billion respectively, in the form of various agri-fishery assistance and interventions.

Other typhoon and flood-affected farmers and fishers in five regions also received the corresponding assistance: Cordillera Administrative Region, P382-million; Region 1 (Ilocos), P313.8-million; Region 3 (Central Luzon), P281.5 million; Region 4A (CALABARZON), P736 million and Region 4B (MIMAROPA), P914 million. Cayanan added that of the total assistance , the bulk was provided by the DA banner programs (rice, corn, and high value crops) worth P4.06 billion, followed by food and cash aid (P1.33 billion),quick response fund (P641.82 million), DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (P670 million) P800-million emergency and livelihood loans from the DA’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council, and P1-billion insurance payments from the DA’s Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

The total damage to the country’s agri-fishery sector due to the seven successive typhoons (from Nika, Ofel, Pepito, Quinta, Rolly, Siony, and Ulysses) in October and November has to date reached P12.8 billion.

The biggest impact in terms of production value was due to typhoons Rolly, Ulysses and Quinta that recorded P5.79-billion P4.18-billion and P2.66-billion worth of losses, respectively.

The damage could have been more massive had it not for the early DA advisories that enabled farmers and fishers on the path of the typhoons to harvest their crops and fishery products.

As a result, more than P32-billion worth of rice, corn, vegetables and fruit crops, and aquaculture species were saved.

For rice, some 1.94 million metric tons worth P30.1 billion from 445,376 hectares were spared, while corn farmers were able to save 161,824 MT worth P1.98 billion.