MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Odette, the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, has wiped out nearly P3 billion worth of agricultural produce across 10 regions as of Wednesday, December 22. The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it expects the number to rise in the next few days.
As of Wednesday, the DA Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DA-DRRM) Operation Center recorded damage and losses amounting to P2.6 billion caused by Typhoon Odette, which hit several parts of Visayas and Mindanao starting December 16. The amount climbed from the initial estimate of more than P300 million on Monday, December 20.
Affected commodities across include rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock, and fisheries, while damage has also been incurred in agricultural infrastructure, machinery, and equipment. Damage to crops have been reported in at least 10 regions – Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao, and Caraga.
At least 34,747 farmers and fishermen were reported affected by the calamity, losing as much as 87,640 metric tons of farm output across 60,451 hectares of agricultural areas.
“Additional damage and losses are expected in areas affected by Odette,” DA-DRRM said, adding that the agency, through its Regional Field Offices (RFOs), is conducting more assessment.
Due to the typhoon, the DA increased its budget for interventions and assistance to farmers and farmers from its earlier commitment of P1.35 billion to P1.75 billion. This amount includes the P1 billion worth of Quick Response Fund (QRF) for the rehabilitation of affected areas; P148 million worth of rice seeds; P57.6 million worth of corn seeds; P44.6 million worth of assorted vegetables; P1.64 million worth of fingerlings and assistance to affected fisherfolk from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources; and P625,150 worth of drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry needs from RFO V.
The DA had also set aside an initial amount of P500 million for the provision of credit assistance under the Survival and Recovery Assistance Program of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council, while there will be available funds from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation to indemnify affected farmers. – Rappler.com