MANILA, Philippines – Total agricultural damage due to the Taal Volcano eruption has reached P3.06 billion, latest data from the Department of Agriculture-Calabarzon and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources showed.
The agencies said on Friday, January 17, that the eruption has affected 15,790 hectares and 1,923 animals. The increase was attributed to additional reports from Laguna and updated reports from Batangas and Cavite. (READ: Taal Volcano ashfall ruins Batangas' famous kapeng barako)
The fisheries sector is now considered the most affected, with estimated losses amounting to P1.6 billion.
High-value crops like coffee, cacao, fruits such as pineapples, as well as vegetables, rice, and coconut were among the most damaged goods.
Agriculture Secretary Willam Dar distributed P160 million worth of agri-fishery aid and livelihood assistance to affected farmers and fisherfolk.
The agriculture department also set aside P30 million for zero-interest loans worth P25,000 to farmers.
The National Food Authority initially released a total of 599 bags of rice for distribution to victims. The local government of Valenzuela also signified its intention to buy 9,600 bags of rice from the NFA for distribution to the affected families.
The Philippine Coconut Authority allotted P1.9 million to affected coconut farmers and will provide 150,000 seedlings and salt fertilizer for damaged trees.
Other attached agencies also provided trucks and vehicles to assist animal evacuation and the transportation of feeds and supplies for animals.
The DA-Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center would continue monitoring and issuing regular bulletins on the Taal Volcano Eruption. – Rappler.com