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P10-B in crop losses from typhoons a setback to food security –DA

The Philippine agriculture sector has so far incurred a combined P10 billion worth of damage and losses from Typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses which ravaged Luzon and parts of the Visayas, the Agriculture Department reported on Saturday.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar described the damage sustained by the crop sector as a major blow to the country’s food security.

Dar noted that the losses did not include the recent flooding in Cagayan and Isabela —which was blamed on the release of water from the Magat Dam after Typhoon Ulysses brought heavy rain over Luzon.

“Malaking dagok na naman dito sa food security natin. Itong tatlong typhoons na ito,” Dar said.

“As of [Friday] evening, 150,000 farmers at 275,000 hectares ng taniman ang apektado. In terms of commodities, kung ano po ang pinaka-grabe na apektado considering itong impact ng tatlong typhoons, ay high value commodities kagaya ng abaca sa Catanduanes.”

Nevertheless, the Agriculture chief said farmers were able to save a substantial volume and amount of crops due to early weather advisories.

“Suma total ang na-save bago dumatng ang tatlong bagyo [about] P32 billion,” Dar said.

As for rice supply, the Cabinet official said the national inventory remained stable with a year-end forecast good for 85 to 94 days.

“Meron tayong sapat na bigas dito sa bansa,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DA was extending P10,000 to P15,000 as crop insurance indemnification for affected farmers.

Farmers can also tap a maximum of P25,000 in loans which they can use for emergency and recovery.

The DA is also giving P3,000 cash and P2,000 worth of food assistance to affected farmers and fisherfolk.

“We are lining up the P6 billion [in excess rice tariffs] to give to 1.1 million rice farmers tilling one hectare and below at sana maibigay nitong December bago mag Christmas,” Dar said. — DVM, GMA News