Affected commodities include rice, corn, coffee, coconut, cacao, banana, pineapple and other fruits and high-value crops.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
Taal damage to agriculture hits P3.2 billion
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2020 - 12:00am

BATANGAS,  Philippines — The amount of damage and losses to agriculture caused by Taal Volcano continuing activity has ballooned to P3.17 billion, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported over the weekend.

The amount covers 15,790 hectares of agricultural lands and production losses of 43,772 metric tons (MT), according to the DA-disaster risk reduction and management operation center.

Affected commodities include rice, corn, coffee, coconut, cacao, banana, pineapple and other fruits and high-value crops.

The fishery sector was hardest hit, accounting for 50.5 percent of the total damage, valued at P1.6 billion and affecting 6,000 cages of tilapia and bangus.

Pineapple plantations incurred the second highest losses with P527.25 million, involving 21,079 MT of production in 862 hectares.

Pineapple plantations in the town of Silang in Cavite were the most affected, followed by General Trias and Amadeo.

Coffee production, particularly in Silang and Amadeo, incurred losses of P360.5 million.

At least 4,300 hectares of coffee plantation and 8,240 MT produce were damaged.

The province of Batangas suffered severe damage in coconut production at P188 million in 8,700 hectares.

For banana, P138.59 million worth of damage was reported, with 7,338 MT produce and 821 hectares affected.

Assorted fruits and vegetables incurred P124.13-million damage, involving 1,453 MT and 197 hectares of farms. Hardest hit were the farms in Tanauan town.

Losses to corn production were placed at P88.9 million covering 539.3 hectares and 5,329 MT produce. Hardest hit areas were Lemery and San Nicolas, both in Batangas.

For livestocks, some 1,923 heads of animals including water buffaloes, cattle, poultry, horses, goats and pigs worth P20.1 million were lost to the calamity.

Cacao production suffered P8.22-million losses covering 52 hectares and 272 MT produce.

Damage to palay involving 308 hectares of farms in Amadeo, General Trias and Silang, all in Cavite, was placed at P5.6 million.

Meanwhile, the DA Calabarzon office distributed P130 million worth of interventions in the form of farm equipment, seeds, planting materials, fingerlings, storage drums and power sprayers in Cavite, Laguna and Batangas.

The department launched the DA-Taal Livestock Care Emergency Operations Center, which serves as temporary shelter for rescued livestocks.

Animal feed, biologics, vitamins and other veterinary supplies are enough to sustain the operations of the center, the DA said.

The Bureau of Animal Industry allotted two trucks for animal rescue and evacuation, and initially delivered 20 bags of feeds.

The Bureau of Plant Industry is ready to distribute 5,000 coffee mother plants and 1,000 cacao seedlings once farming resumes.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is preparing seven million fingerlings of tilapia, 20,000 shrimp, 50,000 catfish, 100,000 carp and 5,000 ayungin for distribution once aquaculture operations in the lake resume.

The National Food Authority released 599 bags of rice while the city government of Valenzuela will procure 9,600 bags for distribution to displaced residents.

The Agricultural Credit Policy Council will provide an initial amount of P30 million to the Rural Bank of Mt. Carmel, which will extend loan assistance to 1,200 farmers and fisherfolk in Batangas.

The Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. initially estimated P108 million of indemnity for insured farmers and fisherfolk.

Funds to cover additional indemnities are available as adjustments and validations are ongoing.

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