Government to miss agriculture growth target for 2018
“We still have to take a look at the damage, but we have to revise our growth projection,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.
Edd Gumban

Government to miss agriculture growth target for 2018

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - September 26, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) expects to miss its output growth target of four percent this year  due to the damage inflicted by Typhoon Ompong.

“We still have to take a look at the damage, but we have to revise our growth projection,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.

Agriculture damage due to Ompong has soared to P27 billion, the highest recorded since Typhoon Yolanda five years ago.

The lower growth was due to the significant decline in palay (unhusked rice) production.

The DA was originally looking at  hitting 19.4 million metric tons (MT) of rice but Ompong damaged nearly 800,000 MT which would put production at about 18.6 million MT.

However, the possibility of typhoons that may hit the country toward the end of the year could further affect production and the sector’s overall performance.

For the first semester, the agriculture sector only grew 0.58 percent compared with the 5.71 percent growth in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. has assured of the speedy release of insurance money from the government for farmers whose crops were damaged by Ompong.

PCIC estimates it will pay a total of P1.65 billion worth of insurance to 262,057 farmers who planted rice, corn and high value crops in the six regions affected by Ompong.

“We will speed up the adjustment and inspection of the farms and process the claims immediately. Our regional offices are now functioning 24 hours daily to ensure non-stop processing of the huge number of claims and financial documents,” PCIC president Jovy Bernabe said.

“It is important that we give timely assistance so farmers can replant quickly and bounce back from their losses more easily and that we will have a stable food supply,” he added.

Piñol and affected local government units are requesting for an immediate supplemental budget of at least P5 billion to jumpstart rehabilitation programs.

“We could ask for a supplemental budget to immediately allocate funds to those areas that really need to be rehabilitated. It will be about P5 billion not including the proposed desiltation of Cagayan River, Pampanga River and others,” Piñol said.

He said other funds could also be included in the 2019 budget of affected local government units.

The DA currently has about P3 billion to fund the rehabilitation in typhoon-hit areas.

This include P1.6 billion in crop insurance, P880 million in emergency loaning program, and P660 million in its quick response fund.

It also has 213,000 bags of standby seeds for rice and nearly 8,000 bags of corn seeds which will also be distributed to the affected farmers.

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