Typhoons Lawin, Karen damage PHP10.22-B worth of agriculture, infrastructure

The damage to agriculture and infrastructure caused by typhoons “Karen” and “Lawin” has so far reached PHP10.22 billion, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported on Sunday.

Losses in agriculture amounted to PHP10.19 billion with 244,780 metric tons of production wasted. The rice sector shared 98 percent of the total losses, affecting 60,494 farmers.

Other crops damaged were vegetables, corn and cassava, as well as fisheries and livestock.

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Areas affected were agricultural lands in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, 5 and MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan).

The DA said damage to infrastructure and facilities reached PHP30.49 million.

Regions 4-A, 4-B and 5 were affected only by typhoon “Karen” with a total damage area of 30,926 hectares and production loss of PHP644.63 million.

For Region 2 or Cagayan Valley, total area affected was 26,565 hectares. Validation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol immediately flew to Kalinga to assess damages brought by typhoon “Lawin” in the CAR after returning from official visit to China with President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

“I proceeded here as the President instructed us and wants us to deliver immediate help and interventions to affected areas in the northern regions of Luzon, particularly Cagayan Valley, which bore the brunt of super typhoon ‘Lawin’, in the most expeditious manner as possible as time is of the essence,” Piñol said.

The super typhoon made its landfall in Cagayan Valley on Wednesday.

During his visit, Piñol met with Kalinga Governor Jocel Baac to discuss plans of action to help farmers and fishers cope with the damages, and immediately recover their livelihoods.

Piñol immediately ordered all officials and personnel of the DA to provide food assistance to affected farmers and fisherfolks, quickly validate the extent of damage, the identities and number of farmers and fishers affected and immediately distribute seeds from prepositioned seed buffer stocks, fertilizers, fishing gear, and other needed assistance.

“I have also instructed the concerned DA agencies, particularly the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation and the Agricultural Credit Policy Council, to swiftly process crop insurance payments to enable the farmers and fishers cope with their loss,” he said.

As of latest count, more than 49,000 farmers were affected by the onslaught of typhoon “Lawin,” translating to more than 406,000 hectares of damaged areas in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and Bicol regions.

Piñol disclosed that there are about 246,240 bags of rice seeds and 9,628 bags of corn seeds as buffer stock.

As of Sept. 30, 2016, the national government has prepositioned both rice and corn seeds stocks for distribution to immediately enable the farmers to replant and continue with their farming amidst climate change events, including typhoons and drought. (PNA)
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