DBM asked to fund buying of damaged rice

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THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) should release a supplemental budget that will enable the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy typhoon-damaged rice from farmers affected by super Typhoon Lawin (international code name: Haima), Sen. Francis Pangilinan said on Friday.

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Pangilinan made the proposal after receiving information that rice farmers were forced to sell storm-damaged rice at P10.00 per kilo, or below the production cost of P12.00 per kilo.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture said the NFA could help affected farmers by buying the damaged rice, adding that the agency could only do it with the help of the DBM.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has estimated damage to agriculture in the Cordillera Autonomous Region at P26.16 million, broken down into P17.192 million (rice), P2.16 million (corn) and P6.809 million (high-value crops).

Kalinga suffered most at P10.8 million, mostly in rice, followed by Benguet at P5.5 million in high-value crops and Abra at P5.34 million in rice.

Pangilinan said the immediate release of supplemental budget from the DBM could somehow help cushion the impact of the devastation left by typhoon Lawin in their areas and enable farmers to recover fast.

Pangilinan also called on the Department of Agriculture to immediately distribute palay seeds to affected farmers for them to start planting and harvesting by January or February next year.

The National Irrigation Authority, he said, could also tap affected farmers in repairing damaged irrigation systems under the cash-for-work scheme.

JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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