Agri office proposes P1.6-B more for Pablo-hit agri sector-A A +A
Thursday, January 17, 2013
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has proposed an additional funding of P1.6 billion to cover the total actual damage caused by Typhoon Pablo to the entire agricultural sector in Davao Region.
This came after DA earlier released roughly P155 million for rice, coconut, and corn farmers in a form of planting materials and other agricultural equipment needed for their total recovery.
The proposal was made by DA's assistant secretary for operations Dante Delima, who said the initial amount was not enough to even address a small percentage of the total affected farmers.
Last week, Melanie Provido, of the high-value crop division of DA-Davao, announced that the government has prepared P33 million for the banana sector alone.
Each identified banana farmer-beneficiary will receive assistance package consists of P5,750 in cash for clearing operations, farm equipment and four bags of fertilizer.
All in all, after Pablo hit agriculture areas in Davao Region, DA, together with other agencies, has already released a total of P235 million in a form of different assistance.
As of Tuesday, a total of 15, 900 bags of certified palay seeds were sourced from other rice producing provinces in Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen and Caraga, and have already been delivered to affected areas.
For corn, DA still need to augment its supply to meet their needed 16,520 bags of open pollinated variety (OPV) to be distributed to affected corn farmers.
Once the proposed P1.6 billion additional budget for Pablo-hit agricultural sector will be approved, a large chunk amounting to P726 million, or more than almost one third of the entire assistance fund, will be allocated to repair the irrigation, and the fund will be transferred to National Irrigation Authority (NIA), followed by P134 million for livestock, P91 million for corn farmers, P32 million for high-value crops, among others.
DA said that P30 million will be set aside for abaca, through the Fiber Industry Development Authority, P337 million for coconut through the Philippine Coconut Authority, P29 million for fishery interventions through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, P1 million for the Bureau of Plant Industry, and P322,500 for the Agricultural Training Institute.
Based on the most recent estimates, the total damages caused by Pablo has already reached to more than P30 billion.
Of the three provinces in the region that were badly hit by the typhoon, the province of Compostela Valley recorded the biggest damage that amounted to P13 billion, followed by Davao Oriental at P10 billion; and Davao del Norte at P6 billion.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 17, 2013.