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Preliminary damage estimates to the agriculture sector on account of Typhoon Ruby went up to P1.02 billion, Department of Agriculture (DA) said Monday afternoon, citing the latest numbers from field reports.
Damage and production losses in crops and infrastructure reached P1.02 billion, the DA said in its 2 p.m. update.
The damage includes 55,850 hectares of farmlands in Bicol, Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas, with estimated production losses of 56,090 metric tons (MT).
The volume of affected palay production reached 48,054 MT, excluding 7,550 tons of corn and 486 tons of high-value crops with a total estimated value of P941.04 million.
For the fisheries sector, production losses amounted to P48.225 million, while damage to the livestock sector amounted to P809,550.
Various agri-fishery infrastructure and equipment were also damaged to the tune of P29.993 million.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala downplayed the damage to agriculture, saying it was much worse during Yolanda a year ago when farmers were yet to harvest their crops.
Yolanda caused a wide swath of destruction in Central Philippines on November 8, 2014, with the damage to infrastructure and agriculture reaching P36.6 billion, data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council show.
This time around, farmers were able to harvest mature crops even before the Ruby made landfall while fishersfolk were able to secure boats following the government's advisories.
“What we can assure the public is that although Ruby is also a destructive typhoon, we are ready to roll out remaining assistance, aside from what had already been prepositioned,” Alcala said.
Earlier, Alcala said officials expected no further damage to rice paddies as the harvest season was almost over before the typhoon struck.
The Cabinet official also called on producers not to raise prices of vegetables and poultry products, especially in areas directly affected by Typhoon Ruby. – Danessa O. Rivera/VS, GMA News