‘Maring’ farm damage reaches ₧979.97M, affects 35K farmers


Over 35,000 farmers in eight regions have lost nearly P1 billion in income due to the recent onslaught of Typhoon “Maring,” based on the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) latest assessment on Thursday.

DA reported that agricultural damage and losses in Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, and Central Visayas has reached P979.97 million. The DA added that Maring affected 52,132 hectares of agricultural land with a production loss of 59,514 metric tons (MT).

“Affected commodities include rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock, and fisheries. These values are subject to validation,” DA said.

The DA said bulk or about 79.72 percent of the total agricultural losses were recorded in the rice industry. The DA added that rice farmers lost 45,491 MT of produce worth P781.3 million planted in 43,912 hectares of land.

Corn farmers, according to the DA, lost P121.4 million as Maring damaged 7,870 MT of produce planted in 6,750 hectares of farms.

The DA added that the high-value crops (HVC) sector has recorded P59.3 million worth of damage and losses after Maring affected 1,470 hectares of farms with an estimated volume loss of 6,153 MT.

Furthermore, about 2,648 heads of livestock and poultry (chicken, cattle, carabao, horse, goat, duck and sheep) were affected by Maring with an estimated damage of P6.2 million, according to the DA.

The DA added that the fisheries industry incurred P11.8 million worth of damage and losses after Maring affected ponds and fishing boats.

The DA has allotted a quick response fund (QRF) amounting to P172 million for the rehabilitation of affected areas, while a total of 168,998 bags of rice seeds, 16,601 bags of corn seeds, and 1,480 kilograms of assorted vegetables will be distributed to the affected farmers.

DA said farmers might also avail of a zero-interest, no collateral and payable in 10 years loan from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) of up to P20,000. The ACPC has a budget of P500 million for the emergency loan assistance program.

Death toll climbs to 30; 14 missing

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that Maring’s death toll has reached 30, while 14 others are still missing. Three were also injured.

At least P1.90 billion worth of crops, fishery and livestock have also been damaged aside from the initial worth of P66.4 million in infrastructure.

While flooding has already subsided in most parts of Northern Luzon, several areas in Region 1, especially in the provinces of Ilocos Sur and La Union are still under water.

At least 46 roads and 14 bridges in Regions 1, 2, 4B and in Cordillera Administrative Region have remained impassable.

The NDRRMC said Maring directly affected 50,040 families or 194,677 individuals in 673 barangays in the country.

Proactive measures

Labor leader and presidential aspirant Leody de Guzman urged the government to implement proactive measures to temper the expected hike in food prices following the damage caused by Maring to Northern Luzon farms.

“Let us be proactive in preventing the increase in food and vegetable prices that usually happens after typhoons hit Northern Luzon. Monitor traders that buy cheap from calamity-stricken farmers and sell high to urban areas due to low supply. Nutrition is of the utmost concern during a pandemic,” said de Guzman of the Partido Lakas ng Masa and the Laban ng Masa Coalition in a news statement issued on Thursday.

De Guzman pointed out that most agricultural products in Metro Manila, such as rice, garlic, and selected vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, and lettuce are sourced from the typhoon-hit areas.

De Guzman noted that an increase in food prices will worsen the poverty of farmers and ordinary consumers as they fall “victims to unjust profiteering by unscrupulous traders.”

“A recent study by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas noted the critical role of the agriculture sector in North Luzon to our economic recovery from the pandemic. Government should take the lead in addressing the plight of the badly-affected farmers,” he said.

“It could mobilize the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation [PCIC] to replace damaged agricultural assets and produce. Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines should provide calamity loans at zero interest. Farmers cooperatives should be enticed to venture into distribution not just in food production,” he added.

P2.7-M govt aid

The government has already released P2.7 million worth of assistance to families affected by Maring according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Of the said amount, Social Welfare Assistant Secretary Glenda Relova said P1.8 million came from DSWD funds, while P934,000 came from the local government.

The funds were spent help typhoon-victims in the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley Region and the CAR.

As of Wednesday, Relova said DSWD still has P1.05 billion remaining funds, which can be tapped to help additional typhoon victims.

Citing data from the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center, she said there were 45,000 families or 175,501 individuals, who were affected by the strong rains and heavy flood caused by Maring.

For its part, DA allocated P172 million of its Quick Response Fund (QRF) to assist in the rehabilitation of the typhoon hit farmlands in Regions 1, 2 and CAR.

It will also distribute 168,998 bags of certified rice seeds; 16,601 bags of certified corn seeds; and 1,489 kilograms of assorted vegetable seeds to the affected farmers.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it will be extend emergency employment to informal sector workers, who were displaced through its Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the government still has P2 billion remaining funds for TUPAD this year.

With Samuel P. Medenilla, Rene Acosta

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