Yolanda agri damage now at P6.9B


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The typhoon damaged rice, crops, fisheries and irrigation and other infrastructure in the Visayas region

BILLIONS OF PESOS. Typhoon Yolanda damaged P6.9 billion worth of rice, fisheries, crops and agricultural infrastructure, according to the Agriculture department. Photo by Rupert Ambil/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Damage to agriculture caused by Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) now stands at P6.9 billion.

Rice cultivation and fisheries areas suffered the most damage. Rice losses amounted to P2.23 billion, and fisheries, P1.16 billion as of Wednesday, November 13, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported.

Typhoon Yolanda, considered one of the world’s strongest typhoon on record, battered several regions in the Philippines on Friday, November 8, destroying homes, buildings and infrastructure, and killing and displacing thousands in the Visayas region.

DA recorded a total of 137,225 metric tons (MT) of rice crops lost. It said 81,056 hectares of rice fields were affected, and only half them can be recovered.

The volume of damage to fisheries was placed at 23,191 MT.

“We are are still within the safety side but we are not discounting the possibility that this would affect our production goals for the year,” DA spokesman Emerson Palad said.

No need to import

There is no immediate need to import rice for relief operations as domestic supply remains stable, according to Palad.

“The NFA (National Food Authority) is able to provide for affected areas, so there is no reason for prices to go up,” he said.

Agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala said the NFA will determine if there’s a need to import more rice by next week.

“We can dispel the fact that Region 7 (Central Visayas) is one of our largest sources of rice so the NFA council would be meeting on this but we still cannot give a specific volume,” he said. 

Damage to fisheries, coconut sectors

Yolanda also left the fisheries sector in Visayas crippled as most fishing equipment and infrastructure were damaged.

DA deferred the implementation of the closed season for sardines as well as herring Visayas Seas and roundscad in Palawan to help fisheries owners recover. The implementation was scheduled this month, but it was moved to December.

Meanwhile, damage to the coconut sector was placed at P1.5 billion. Some 3,058,948 coconut trees planted in the provinces of Quezon, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Eastern Samar and Leyte were affected.

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) will implement its cash-for-work program during clearing operations where each worker will be paid P300 per day.

PCA will also provide saw mills for the clearing of fallen coconut trees that can be used to rebuild homes.

Damage to other crops

Other agriculture commodities that were lost are as follows:

  • Corn (P117.40 million)
  • Cassava (P94.31 million)
  • Vegetables (P9.14 million)
  • Bananas (P83.29 million)
  • Mangoes (P220.14 million)
  • Other crops (P443.47 million )

Damaged irrigation and other infrastructure were worth P1.02 billion.

The government is using DA-supported food trading terminals in Visayas to avoid a spike in food prices in the island, the DA chief said. 

Main commodities such as rice, chicken, vegtables and potatoes are now being moved to local government food trading centers from production areas to prevent prices increases.  

DA regional field units are set to deliver vegetable, rice, and corn seeds to typhoon-stricken areas for replanting. – Rappler.com 

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