The Department of Agriculture (DA) has assured that there is enough supply of food despite the onslaught of Typhoon Odette that devastated the Visayas and Mindanao.
“We would like to assure the public that mayroon tayo pong sapat na pagkain,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the latter’s weekly Talk to the People aired on Tuesday.
“Of course, we just need to mobilize them from one area to the areas where they are needed most.”
At the same time, the agriculture secretary said that the DA still has about P3 billion that will be distributed in the next five weeks to farmers affected by the typhoon through the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance.
“So nandiyan lahat po ang tulong ng national government and we are in partnership with local government units to see to it that the farmers and the fishers are properly attended to and supported, Mr. President,” he said.
Dar told the President that part of DA’s interventions is the P1-billion Quick Response Fund for the rehabilitation of affected areas, chargeable to the 2022 national budget.
DA also has an ongoing distribution of indemnification to affected farmers, Dar said, explaining the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. has allotted P828 million to pay P12,000 every farmer in calamity areas.
Other intervention will come from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council, which has set aside P500 million as a Survival and Recovery Assistance Program. The support, which will be given through P25,000 loan, could cover 20,000 farmers and fisherfolks.
The DA also prepositioned P314 million worth of rice seeds; corn, P129 million; and assorted vegetables, P57 million. The seeds, which could be augmented by the 2022 budget, are ready for distribution to affected farmers, Dar reported.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has already extended assistance to affected fisherfolks by allocating P47 million. The bureau continues to procure more materials for the construction of fishing boats, he added.
The Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. will also distribute the indemnification in Mimaropa, Eastern, Western, and Central Visayas regions, Caraga, as well as Northern Mindanao.
As of Monday, the total damage and losses in the agriculture sector is almost P6 billion and still counting, the agriculture secretary reported.
The typhoon affected almost 62,000 farmers and fishermen and more than 70,000 hectares of agricultural lands. This translates to 105,000 metric tons in food losses.
By commodity, the fishery sector was hit hardest followed by rice, coconut, and others that would include infrastructure, corn, livestock, high-value crops, and other machineries, according to Dar.
“And again, if you look at the total production loss of rice this year, to date, we have lost almost 700,000 metric tons. This is 3.4 percent of the 20.3 million metric tons target this year,” he said. PND