MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has so far released a total of PHP3 billion worth of agricultural interventions to aid farmers and fisherfolk affected by Typhoon Odette last month.
“For the last two weeks of January, the DA has been doubling its efforts in the distribution of these interventions to farmers and fishers who have been heavily affected by the typhoon,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a news release on Thursday.
Of the PHP3 billion, PHP1 billion came from DA’s Quick Response Fund (QRF) for the rehabilitation of affected areas particularly in Regions 6 (Western Visayas), 7 (Central Visayas), 8 (Eastern Visayas), 13 (Caraga), and 4-B (Mimaropa) which have been directly hit by “Odette.”
The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) has also set aside PHP828 million as potential payout to around 79,217 insured farmers and fishers affected by the typhoon.
The SURE Loan Assistance Program of the DA under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) also allotted PHP500-million worth of loan which will benefit 20,000 affected farmers and fishers. This program features a PHP25,000 loanable amount per household, with zero interest, no collateral, and payable up to three years.
To aid farm recovery efforts, the DA distributed PHP500 million worth of certified rice, corn, and assorted vegetable seeds; PHP1.63 million worth of seednuts, seedlings, and fertilizers from the Philippine Coconut Authority; PHP6.6 million worth of animal stocks, drugs, and biologics for livestock and poultry; and PHP200,000 worth of farm inputs from Philippine Fiber Industry and Development Authority.
The fisheries sector through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources also provided PHP31.58 million worth of interventions such as fiber boats, marine diesel engine, banca repairs, and various fishery products as relief goods.
To date, agricultural losses from Typhoon Odette translate to PHP13.3 billion, with 462,766 hectares of agricultural areas affected and 273,062 metric tons of total volume loss agonizing 533,709 farmers and fishers.
Although the interventions were not enough compared to the extent of damage that the typhoon caused, Dar assured that “this is a good start.”
He also guaranteed that the inventory of basic commodities such as rice, livestock, poultry, and fishery products are enough.
“We keep a positive inventory of rice, which will be good for 115 days. We also have a combination of local supplies and imported frozen pork, and as for fish products, we are enhancing our aquaculture to come forward to elevate fish cuts as we have closed the fishing season this quarter,” Dar said.
“In spite of all these challenges, the Philippines, with the combination of enhancing local production and supply augmentation from other countries, sapat po ang pagkain ng ating bansa (the country has enough food),” he added. (PR)
January 20, 2022, Far West Herald