MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it has allotted an initial P822-million worth of various interventions to assist farmers and fisherfolk affected by Severe Tropical Storm Maring.
Maring caused damage to major crops, livestock, and fishery products, mostly in Northern Luzon, particularly in Regions 1, 2, and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
“We will continue to provide our typhoon and flood-affected farmers and fisherfolk in Northern Luzon and other areas with immediate aid and much-needed assistance to recover and start anew after the damage and loss in their livelihood and income,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a statement.
Of the total P822 million assistance, the DA said that P650 million will be allotted for the provision of emergency loans to affected farmers and fishers under the SURE Calamity Loan Assistance Program through the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC).
“Each affected household can borrow P20,000, at zero interest, no collateral, and payable in 10 years,” it added.
Aside from the agricultural loan, the DA said it has also allotted P172 million under its Quick Response Fund (QRF) for the rehabilitation of affected areas in Regions 1,2, and CAR.
“These interventions are over and above the regular assistance provided by the DA to farmers and fishers affected by typhoons and other natural calamities,” it added.
The department said that the following assistance package are ready for distribution to beneficiaries:
- Close to 169,000 bags of certified rice seeds
- 16,600 bags of certified corn seeds
- 1,480 kilograms of assorted vegetable seeds;
- Drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry
- Indemnification for affected farmers/fishers from Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC)
As of October 13, the estimated damage to agriculture has amounted to P692 million with 32,392 farmers and fisherfolk affected. Damages and losses recorded were mostly on rice (P498 million), corn (P120 million), high-value crops (P56 million), livestock and poultry (P6 million), and fisheries (P12 million).
Due to early planting and harvesting, the DA noted that about 60 percent of the wet season rice crop was already harvested.
Farmers were also advised to save their respective crops and livestock, including harvest of mature crops, draining of fields to avoid flooding, securing livestock to higher ground, and pruning of fruit trees, among other needed precautions.
As a result, more than P2.86-billion worth of rice and corn were saved, some 141,635 metric tons of rice worth P2.08 billion in Regions 1 and 2 were harvested, while corn farmers in Region 2 were able to save 55,654 MT worth P779.15 million.