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TS Henry, Inday leave P500M-worth of damage in agriculture, fisheries – DA

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2018

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol on Monday (July 23) revealed more than half a billion pesos worth of damage in agriculture and fisheries brought about by tropical cyclones “Henry” and “Inday.”

According to a report from DA’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center on Sunday (July 22), the total amount of damage in figure is estimated at P565.19 million.

On his latest social media post, Piñol said the rice sector suffered P428.03 million. Over 26,000 hectares of rice paddies were recorded in Pangasinan, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampang, Tarlac, Batangas, Rizal, Laguna, Occidental Mindoro, Negros Occidental, and Aklan. The estimated production loss is at 314 metric tons.

Meanwhile, damages in the country’s fish production and facilities amounted to a total of P136.16 million  including fishing gears and paraphernalia in Cordillera Autonomous Region, Regions 1, 2 and Calabarzon.

According to Piñol, affected rice farmers will be provided with rice seed buffer-stocks to recover from their losses. DA also promised assistance to affected fishermen. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo

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UNTV EXCLUSIVE: Hundreds of game fowls without health certificates seized at NAIA

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Several boxes of live chickens were recently seized by the Department of Agriculture (DA) at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

A source, who requested anonymity, provided UNTV News with pictures of game fowls in boxes, and some in open cages, seemingly dead.

The source said the first shipment arrived on October 9 through Philippine Airlines Flight PR105 from San Francisco, California.

Allegedly, the shipment has no health certificate and endorsement papers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Instead, they were attached with fake import clearance from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

The source said despite illegal documents, a total of 168 heads of game fowls were released for $120 shipment fee per head.

The second shipment arrived the following day, October 10. They are still on hold at the PAL Cargo warehouse.

The source warned that the game fowls might be infected with Newcastle Disease which is now causing an outbreak in Southern California.  He said a broker was using the name of Secretary Manny Piñol to release the shipment.

Shipment of game fowls still on hold at the PAL Cargo warehouse

 

The alleged broker, he said, claimed that he is a friend of the Agriculture Secretary.

The UNTV News team sought the side of Secretary Piñol on the matter.

He explained that he immediately ordered the seizure of the shipment. He also admitted that he knows who the importer of the game fowls is.

“Sabi ko: ‘Pasensya ka na pero hindi lulusot ito. Kasi kapag kulang ang papeles mo, maski kaibigan pa kita, talagang hindi pwedeng lumusot,'” he said referring to a conversation with the importer.

According to Piñol, only 80 heads from the shipment were released after they were presented with health certificates.

The DA-BAI was also able to block the release of 300 heads more.

Piñol explained that under the law, importers are given 10 days to produce the necessary documents for their shipments.

Nevertheless, he already ordered the culling of the game fowls as they can be carriers of a new strain of avian virus currently infecting chickens in California.

 

“I issued another order, a new order, banning altogether the shipment of chicken coming from California shipped through either San Francisco or Los Angeles. And that will stay until such time that the USDA has issued a clearance na wala ng NCD outbreak sa California,” the secretary explained.

“I cannot be perfect all the time, but, hindi ako maaring magbigay ng pabor sa isang kaibigan maski mali na pwede kong pagbigyan sapagkat meron akong mas malaking responsibilidad. Mayroon akong responsibilidad sa mga kaibigan ko pero mas malaki ang responsibilidad ko sa taong bayan,” Piñol said.

The DA is now preparing the necessary legal actions to take against the importer or broker. The agency is also checking if there were similar incidents of forged health certificates presented for virus-infected chickens that might jeopardize the country’s poultry industry.

The secretary added that he mulls on possible revamp of BAI personnel after the incident. — Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo

 

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DA expects rice prices to stabilize before end of October

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

(File photo)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is confident that the price of rice in the country will go down in the following weeks due to the arrival of imported rice.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said the season to harvest palay has also begun, which is seen to elevate rice production.

 “When do we expect the stabilization of the price of rice in the market? It’s starting in the market actually. By the end of this October, last week of October, we will be instituting reforms in the grains rice market industry,” he said.

Piñol also said that starting next week, the public will be able to determine the rice variant that were imported and locally-produced.

Rice labels will also be limited to four, namely: regular milled (P38/kg), well milled (P40-42/kg), special rice and premium rice (P44/kg).

The suggested retail price for rice is also expected to be released by the National Food Authority (NFA) Council on October 18.

 “The exact pricing of SRPs will be determined on October 18, when we will be meeting for the final time with the stakeholders of the rice industry kasama na ang mga farmers, traders, millers and even the rice retailers,” Piñol said.

 The Agriculture Secretary, meanwhile, clarified reports on the unimpeded process of rice importation.

He said restrictions will be lifted but a set of guidelines and process will still be followed.

The easier rice importation is in line with President Duterte’s order to government agencies to ensure there is over or enough supply of rice in the country.

“The President never used the unimpeded importation because that would be a disservice and injustice to the Filipino farmers,” Piñol concluded. — Rosalie Coz

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DA, NFA to shed P6B to buy palay from local farmers

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Local famers | PVI/Richard Cortez

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) in collaboration with the National Food Authority (NFA) is set to launch on Friday (October 12) a massive procurement of locally produced rice in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said they will begin by scouting areas where the price of rice is low such as Mindoro and Bicol with the intention of helping the country’s local farmers.

The NFA will buy each kilogram of rice for P17/kg with incentives of up to P3.70/kg.

“A farmer who brings his rice to the NFA at 14 percent moisture content, will be earning 20 pesos and 70 centavos for every kilo of Paddy rice that he brings to the NFA,” said Piñol.

The DA will station drying facilities in all NFA buying stations across the country which farmers may use for free.

Farmers cooperatives or organization will get certain points for a certain volume of rice delivered to NFA.

Farmers cooperatives may use the accumulated points in exchange of farming equipment from DA such as tractor, rice harvester and solar power irrigation system.

The DA hopes these measures will be able to prevent that impact of unimpeded rice importation ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte to local farmers.

The government has allotted P6B for the entire procurement process of procuring rice from local farmers.

Meanwhile, the government’s rice buffer stock is estimated to suffice the country’s consumption of up to 163 days with the arrival of one million metric tons or 20 million bags of rice to be imported. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo

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