The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allocated P2.2 billion as assistance to Cagayan Valley (Region 2) farmers hit hard by Typhoon “Ulysses.”
In a briefing on Sunday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said it was even a blessing that the amount was not released to Region 2 farmers before Ulysses hit the country.
He explained that with the P2.2-billion assistance, farmers in Cagayan Valley can gear up for the dry-season rice cropping/planting that usually starts in November and December. Region 2 is a major producer of rice and corn.
“Tamang-tama po ‘yung paghahanda po namin for dry season planting. Ito na sana Nobyembre, last two weeks at hangga’t Disyembre. Mabuti na lang hindi po namin pa naibigay po lahat doon sa mga probinsiya (We were just about to distribute our assistance to them [before Ulysses hit]. Hopefully [there’s no more weather disturbance] as we are to release aid on the last two weeks of November to December, in time for the dry season),” he said.
Dar said the DA is going to distribute hybrid rice seeds, inbred rice seeds, fertilizers, hybrid corn seeds, assorted vegetable seeds, seedling trays, including livestock such as poultry, goats, and ducks to kickstart the rehabilitation of the ruined croplands in Region 2.
Dar said Cagayan province will get P846 million while Isabela will receive P986 million.
Nueva Vizcaya is set to receive P148 million while the province of Quirino, still a part of the Cagayan Valley, will be given P96 million.
Apart from the P2.2-billion assistance, the National Food Authority (NFA) has also allocated P41 million worth of rice donations for the victims of the typhoon. The NFA is an agency under the DA.
As of November 16, the DA said total damage and losses incurred due to Ulysses increased to P2.53 billion.
Among those affected included about 73,181 farmers and fisherfolk and 71,466 hectares of agriculture areas, devastating 109,117 metric tons of produce.
Affected DA regional field offices are continuously conducting Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDANA) to assess and validate damage and losses in the agriculture and fisheries sector.
The affected commodities include rice, corn, high-value crops, fisheries, livestock, irrigation facilities, machineries and equipment, and agricultural infrastructures in the Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and the Bicol Region.
The DA also urged the farmers to avail of their Survival and Recovery (SURE) loan program under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC).
Under the program, farmers can avail of loans up to P25,000 at zero interest and no collateral payable in 10 years. JONATHAN ARACELI FOR SOVEREIGNPH