• Rice farmers lost P46B to natural disasters

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    Because it is practiced in open areas, rice farming has been the hardest hit in the agricultural industry by typhoons, floods and droughts, according to a recent report released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

    Based on Department of Agriculture data, the rice-farming sector incurred about P46 billion in production losses from 2007 to 2010, or an average of P11.5 billion each year, the PIDS report said.

    Of the three disasters, typhoons caused the greater damage. By region, Luzon experienced greater losses compared to the Visayas and Mindanao, according to the report titled “Typhoons, Floods, and Droughts: Regional Occurrence and Value of Damage to Rice Farming in the Philippines.”

    Overall, Region II recorded the most losses, suffering calamitous damages amounting to P11.8 billion from 2007 to 2010, or an annual average of P2.9 billion. It was followed by Region III and Region I.

    Data shows that a total of 67 typhoons, or about 17 typhoons yearly, visited the Philippines from 2007 to 2010.

    These typhoons caused total losses of almost P32 billion, or an average of nearly P8-billion annually, it said.

    The regions that experienced more typhoons during the three-year period were all in Luzon, led by Region II. It was followed by Region I, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Region III, Region IV-A, Region IV-B, and Region VI.

    Other areas also frequented by typhoons were Region VIII, Region VII, and Region VI in the Visayas and the Mindanao regions of Region X and Region XIII.

    But in production losses, typhoons caused the most havoc in Region III, followed by Region 1 and Region II. Region III’s rice farmlands sustained P10.7 billion in losses for the period covered, or P2.7-billion annually.

    Meanwhile, for the three-year period reviewed, there was no discernible flood pattern in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, as all were affected by flooding at one time or another.

    The report also said that the total flood-related losses of the rice-farming sector during the period amounted to P4.3 billion, or an average of P1-billion yearly.

    Region II sustained the most damage with P1.4 billion in losses, or an annual average of P350.9 million.

    On the other hand, droughts set the Philippine rice farming industry back by P9.8 billion from 2007 to 2010, or an average of P2.4-billion annually, it added.

    This calamity also had a greater impact in Luzon than in the Visayas or Mindanao. Region II was the hardest hit, with aggregate losses of P3.7 billion, or an annual average of P935.5 million.

    “The results showed that Luzon which was more affected by droughts also experienced higher total value of damages followed by Mindanao and Visayas,” said author Danilo Israel.

    The report suggested that since there were regional differences in where disasters struck most and inflicted the most damage, “disaster assistance for farmers may be made more site-specific, zeroing in on the most affected regions of the country.”

    In general, Luzon rice farmers may be given more attention “without unduly jeopardizing assistance to those in Visayas and Mindanao,” Israel added.

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