Bicol farmers affected by Usman to get soft loans, aid
ALBAY, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) will be providing soft loans of at least P25,000 and aid of P5,000 to each farmer in the Bicol region whose crops were destroyed by flooding and landslides caused by Tropical Depression Usman and the tail end of the cold front (TECF).
During his visit here, in the town of Libon, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the assistance to farmers will be taken from the P3.7 billion Survival and Recovery Assistance Program or SURE allocated in 2019 for farmers affected by various calamities.
At least 28,714 farmers and 30,900.07 hectares in Bicol were affected by Usman and the TECF, with a total loss production of 16,331.93 metric tons, valued at P596,372,903.77.
The DA will also provide free palay and vegetable seedlings to farmers to replace those destroyed by massive floods and landslides across the region.
Piñol spoke with farmers a forum at the Libon town gymnasium. He turned over P3.2 million worth of farm materials and agriculture machinery to 1,000 members of organized farmers groups.
Emelia Bordado, DA spokesperson, said the highest loss was in rice production with P514,464,017.24 in damage, followed by high-value crops with P40,163,727.59 damage, and corn with P27,590,948.95 initial damage.
Among the 6 provinces, Camarines Sur was worst hit, with 14,674.84 hectares of riceland affected, followed by Catanduanes with 3,519.38 hectares, Albay with 3,147.05 hectares, Sorsogon with 1,857.06 hectares, and Masbate with 113.76 hectares.
Of the total, 12,000 hectares were completely destroyed, while 19,000 hectares were partially destroyed with a chance of recovery, Bordado said.
Lands planted to corn sustained damage worth P27.5 million, followed by fields of high-value crops with P40 million, livestock with P12.7 million, and fisheries with P871,050 losses.