by James Earl Ogatis & Sheila Mae H. Toreno
Agriculture Secretary Dr. William D. Dar pledged immediate interventions to the farmers and fisherfolk affected by the recent devastation of Typhoon Ursula in the different towns in Capiz and Aklan.
About P169 million losses in the agri-fishery sector in Region 6 were reported and validated by the Department of Agriculture (DA) as of Dec. 30.
Of that total amount, Capiz recorded the highest damage that reaches P130 million. Based on the initial data, about 20,719.24 hectares were partially and totally damaged affecting 3,232 Capiz farmers growing rice and corn.
In a forum held today in Pontevedra, Dar ordered the immediate distribution of rice, corn, vegetable seeds, fruit trees planting materials, poultry and livestock, fingerlings for fishponds, fiberglass fishing boats, and fishing paraphernalia to affected farmers and fisherfolk.
He also instructed DA Research Outreach Station-Capiz center chief Lilia Penaranda to continuously produce planting materials for distribution and cultivation in the upland and unutilized areas in the two provinces.
“Establish a 20-hectare demo farm for agroforestry planted with fruit trees and high-value crops. Agro-forestry will be our answer to the perils of nature in the future,” Dar said.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Aklan submitted a damage report of the Rice Processing Center II at Brgy. Tabangka, Numancia, Aklan. The IBON Multi-Purpose Cooperative seeks for immediate assistance in the repair and re-installation of warehouses, recirculating dryers, rice mill, and power lines.
DA has a P60 million fund under the Survival Recovery (SURE) Program of Agricultural Credit Policy Council and indemnification from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) for Regions VI, VII and VIII.
For Western Visayas, DA has buffer-stocked 1,780 bags of certified and hybrid seeds of palay, 1,787 bags of OPV and hybrid corn seeds, and 4,422 kilograms of assorted vegetables.
The DA Regional Field Office 6 and provincial agri offices were also advised to intensify the value-adding of coconut products for its huge local and export market potentials.
Dar also assured Capiz governor Esteban Evan Contreras and Aklan governor Joven Miraflores that DA will fast-track the delivery of agri-fishery interventions to typhoon-stricken farmers and fishers.
“In joint discussions with the provincial government units, we talked about the necessary interventions that we can work together. Pag nabigay na po ang lahat ng damage reports at na-validate na, ibibigay agad (ang suporta),” Dar said. The DA RFO 6 Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office regularly coordinates with the City and Municipal Agricultural Offices to obtain more updated and accurate damage reports of Typhoon Ursula.