AGRICULTURE Secretary William Dar has pledged immediate interventions to the farmers and fisherfolk affected by the recent onslaught of Typhoon Ursula in Western Visayas, particularly in various localities in Capiz and Aklan.
About P169 million worth of losses in the region's agri-fishery sector were reported and validated by the Department of Agriculture (DA) as of December 30 last year.
Of that total amount, Capiz recorded the highest damage that reached to P130 million.
Initial data showed that about 20,719.24 hectares were partially and totally damaged affecting 3,232 farmers growing rice and corn.
In a forum held in Pontevedra town recently, Dar ordered the immediate distribution of rice, corn, vegetable seeds, fruit trees planting materials, poultry and livestock animals, fingerlings for fishponds, fiberglass fishing boats, and fishing paraphernalia to affected farmers and fisherfolk.
He also instructed DA Research Outreach Station-Capiz center chief Lilia Penaranda to continuously produce planting materials for distribution and cultivation in the upland and unutilized areas in the two provinces.
"There's a need to establish a 20-hectare demo farm for agroforestry planted with fruit trees and high-value crops. Agro-forestry will be our answer to the perils of nature in the future," Dar said.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Aklan submitted a damage report of the Rice Processing Center II at Barangay Tabangka in Numancia.
The IBON Multi-Purpose Cooperative seeks for immediate assistance in the repair and re-installation of warehouses, recirculating dryers, rice mill, and power lines.
The DA has P60-million fund under the Survival Recovery (Sure) Program of Agricultural Credit Policy Council and indemnification from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation for Regions 6, 7 and 8.
For Western Visayas alone, the DA has a buffer of 1,780 bags of certified and hybrid seeds of palay, 1,787 bags of hybrid corn seeds and 4,422 kilograms of assorted vegetables.
The DA Regional Field Office 6 and provincial agriculture offices were also advised to intensify the value-adding of coconut products for its huge local and export market potentials.
Dar also assured Capiz Governor Esteban Evan Contreras and Aklan Governor Joven Miraflores that the agency will fast-track the delivery of agri-fishery interventions to typhoon-stricken farmers and fishers.
“In joint discussions with the provincial government units, we talked about the necessary interventions that we can work together. Pag nabigay na po ang lahat ng damage reports at na-validate na, ibibigay agad (ang suporta),” he said.
The DA Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office regularly coordinates with the City and Municipal Agricultural Offices to obtain more updated and accurate damage reports of the typhoon. (PR)