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Gov't downplays impact of typhoon Pablo on food supply

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The government today assured that the damage inflicted by typhoon Pablo to farmland in Mindanao will not adversely affect the food supply in the country.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala also said that despite the crops damaged by the typhoon, the growth rate of the farm sector in 2012 will be positive.

The government assured affected farmers that seeds and funds to rehabilitate damaged farm infrastructure will be distributed immediately.

Typhoon Pablo ravaged banana, corn and coconut plantations in southern Philippines, with the value of damage estimated at P8.6 billion ($210.1 million).

The damage inflicted by the typhoon in several southern Philippine provinces was so severe that it prompted the United Nations to appeal for aid amounting to $65 million.

Typhoon Pablo cut across southern Philippines from Dec. 4 to 7, triggering flash floods and landslides, killing at least 647 people, devastating houses, and displacing millions of people. It was the strongest typhoon to hit the area in decades.

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Despite the huge losses suffered by the farm sector, UBS Investment Research said the country's economy will still be able to post a growth rate of 6.3 percent for 2012.

In its latest Asian Economic Monitor, UBS Investment Research said that it has revised upward its 2012 growth forecast for the Philippines following the stellar performance of the country's economy in the third quarter.

In July to September, Philippine gross domestic product posted an increase of 7.1 percent on the back the good performance of the services sector and the increase in government spending.

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