Agri damage from Taal eruption reaches P577M

Credit to Author: THE MANILA TIMES| Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2020 12:38:11 +0000

DAMAGES and losses to agriculture brought by the eruption of Taal Volcano have hit P577.59 million, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

In a statement on Tuesday, the DA, through its Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Operations Center said the volcanic eruption has affected 2,772 hectares of farm lands and 1,967 animal heads.

Affected commodities included rice, corn, coffee, cacao, banana and high value crops in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite.

The DA said P21.7-million worth of combined interventions for crops and livestock will be distributed to its Regional Field Office in Calabarzon to 17 local government units including Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Talisay, Lemery, Laurel, Lipa City, San Jose, Nasugbu, Mataas na Kahoy, Balete, Cuenca, Alitagtag, Padre Garcia, Tanauan City, Malvar and Taal.

Calabarzon is composed of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

“These interventions include provision of livestock for restocking and rice and corn seeds, high value crops planting materials and other production inputs,” according to the Agriculture department.

To further assist affected farming families, the DA said its Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has readied drugs and biologics to be provided for the affected livestock, adding that two trucks are available to mobilize the affected areas for animal rescue and evacuation.

A total of 5,000 coffee mother plants and 1,000 cacao seedlings have also been readied by the Bureau of Plant Industry for distribution for damaged coffee and cacao areas.

The DA was expecting the fishing sector to be seriously affected by the Taal eruption, with an estimated production loss of 15,033 metric tons that may reduce the supply of tilapia in Metro Manila.

To address this, the DA said its Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will prepare immediate assistance in the form of fingerlings (7 million fingerlings for tilapia; 20,000 for ulang; 50,000 for hito; 100,000 for bighead carp; and 5,000 fingerlings for ayungin) once aquaculture operation in Taal Lake will resume.

“[S]everal sources of tilapia from CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) , Region 3 (Central Luzon), Laguna and Rizal are being identified by the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service and BFAR by which the tilapia will be distributed to Metro Manila markets in coordination with the city mayors and market masters,” the department added.

It said BFAR will also be providing production loan for tilapia producers in Central Luzon to intensify production.

Furthermore, the National Food Authority (NFA) has an initial stock of 168,758 bags of rice ready for distribution in areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.

“NFA Administrator Judy Dansal guarantees that the rice stocks are safe for human consumption as they are stored in properly maintained warehouses away from ashfall,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

The DA’s credit arm, Agricultural Credit Policy Council, has an initial amount  of P30 million ready to provide to Rural Bank of Mt. Carmel as funds for the implementation of Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Assistance that will benefit around 1,200 farmers and fisherfolk in Batangas.

“In addition, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) has available and enough funds to pay for the indemnity of the affected insured farmers and fisherfolk,” Dar said.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Tuesday reported ongoing ash eruptions that continue to trigger volcanic earthquakes.

Since Taal Volcano started spewing ash on Sunday, Phivolcs has recorded 212 quakes, with intensities ranging from 1 to 5 in Tagaytay City; Alitagtag, Lemery, Santo Tomas and Talisay, Batangas. EIREENE JAIREE GOMEZ