• Farmers harvest first crops after Yolanda


    ABOUT 65 percent of farmers from areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda already harvested their crops as the government continues to provide assistance to those affected by the strongest typhoon in the country’s history, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Wednesday.

    “This is a feat that we can be proud of . . . farmers from the provinces of Leyte and Samar have already harvested their first crops just months after Yolanda devastated majority of the agriculture areas in the country,” Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said.

    Yolanda affected 44 out of the 81 provinces with Leyte and Samar the hardest hit.

    Alcala noted that the second cropping season for the affected farmers is ongoing, with the DA and the United Nation-Food and Agriculture Organization now beefing up interventions, including distribution of certified seeds, fertilizers, as well as financial and technical support.

    Alcala said the DA also laid down a midterm program for raising ruminants, either goats or sheep, for every five kilometers of the areas damaged by Yolanda to enhance the source of protein.

    “We are even providing planting materials for the grass that the animals will eat,” Alcala said.

    In June, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources launched the “unsinkable” Bangkang Pinoy that aims to give fishermen, who risk their lives at sea on a daily basis, guaranteed additional protection especially during inclement weather.

    At least 5,000 of these unsinkable, tree-friendly and durable fishing boats are expected to be produced and distributed by the DA before the year ends as part of the government’s “build-back better” strategy to help Yolanda-affected communities recover.

    Meanwhile, to widen reach of assistance for Yolanda survivors in Eastern Visayas, the DA-Regional Field Unit 8 will distribute recently acquired vegetable seed donations to remote and upland communities where access to interventions of the government and the private sector had been limited.

    Eight months after Yolanda struck the Eastern Visayas region, the agency continues to receive support and assistance intended for affected farmers from different private organizations. Among the recent donors is Harbest Agribusiness Corporation, which turned over more than 4,000 packs of vegetable seeds during a courtesy call at the DA Regional Office in Tacloban City.

    Evelyn Gamboa of Harbest said that part of the donations was provided by their partner, the Known You Seeds Philippines, Inc.

    She added that they hope the assistance could help small farmers affected by the typhoon recover by planting short-cycled crops. The seeds provided include eggplant, squash, kangkong, okra, sponge gourd, snap beans, asparagus bean, balsam pear and cucumber.

    To further support the farmers in the region in improving their productivity and income, the DA-RFU 8 through its Marketing Assistance Division will be organizing a weekly tabo (market day) in the office where local farmers will converge to sell their fresh produce.


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