by Sheila Mae H. Toreno

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Western Visayas has turned over initial interventions to farmers affected by the recent devastation of Typhoon Ursula.

On Tuesday, farmers from the Municipalities of Maayon and Pontevedra received certified rice seeds, glutinous corn seeds, assorted vegetable seeds, garden tools, as well as biologics and disinfectants for livestock and poultry animals, and indemnity claims.

“We are here today to give you initial interventions for the damage caused by Typhoon Ursula. Rest assured that we will soon turn over animal stocks like native chicken, native pigs, and goats,” said DA regional executive director Remelyn R. Recoter in a program held at Maayon, Capiz.

About P359 million worth of crops and P37 million of livestock and poultry in Capiz were damaged based on the latest report gathered and validated by the DA Disaster Risk Reduction Management Center. There are also agri-infrastructures in the province that need repairs such as the Capiz Breeder Station and the Research Outreach Station of DA in Sigma.

Maayon has 1,405 hectares and Pontevedra has 1,646 hectares of rice areas affected by the typhoon. Meanwhile, 261 corn farmers in Pontevedra lost P3.4 million in the 280-hectare corn areas.

On Dec. 30, DA Secretary William Dar visited and assessed the agricultural damages in Pontevedra and other towns in Capiz.

Recoter cited that Dar will ensure that the National Irrigation Administration’s Panay River Basin Development Project in Capiz will be materialized.

“The project will not only solve the problem on frequent flooding here but will also provide livelihood and irrigation to farmers,” she added.

The Philippine Rice Research Institute distributed certified palay seeds for cultivation in 2,365 hectares rice areas in Maayon as part of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) program.

Farmers whose crops were damaged to flood, drought, and pests received indemnity claims from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC). The PCIC distributed P1,496,788 indemnity checks to 234 farmers of Maayon, and P923,057 to 218 farmers of Pontevedra. Capiz governor Esteban Evan Contreras assured farmers that the provincial government is collaborating with various national government agencies such as DA in rehabilitating their farming sector.