MORE than 100 livestock and poultry farmers convened at the Cebu Provincial Capitol Friday, January 14, 2022, to seek assistance for their recovery so they can address a possible shortage of farm products.

They told Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia that most of their facilities had been damaged by Typhoon Odette (Rai) and that the absence of electricity had resulted in a high mortality rate among their domesticated animals.

Garcia said that due to the extent of the damage, it is possible that there will be a shortage of poultry products in Cebu.

Rico Gomez of San Miguel Foods Inc. said there will be a possible vacuum of poultry supply by the month of February or March if farms cannot return to their regular operations.

Gomez said supplies in supermarkets are already declining and prices are increasing.

Farmers also told the governor that they are having problems sourcing animal feeds in their areas.

A representative from a feed mill company said their milling facilities were also damaged and ships carrying raw materials were having difficulty docking in the ports of the province due to obstructions brought by the typhoon.

Representatives from the Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, and Veterans Bank of the Philippines were also present to provide loan assistance to the affected farmers.

The banks offered low interest rates and a longer grace period for the farmers to rebuild their facilities and resume their operations.

Garcia is hopeful that the loans will be released to the affected farmers within the month of February.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu was also at the meeting.

He said he was here in Cebu as head of the Task Force Build Back Better.

Cimatu said he would order the DENR Central Visayas to release the necessary permits for the fallen trees that can be used for timber by residents.