Yolanda-hit farmers to get P1B more

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As part of the government’s post-calamity rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P1.05 billion to support various projects meant to help affected farmers recover from the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

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The DBM said the funds have been released to the Department of Agriculture (DA) under the Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) program and were sourced from the 2013 Supplemental Appropriations. To date, the DBM has released a total of P5.21 billion for the agriculture component of the rehabilitation program.

The budget agency also reported that as of March 10, some P26 billion has already been mobilized for post-disaster projects and activities in areas affected by Yolanda.

The release of the P1 billion fund will allow the Agriculture department to implement clearing and desilting operations in Yolanda-stricken regions from March to August this year, it said.

The fund will also provide farm tools, seeds, tractors, fertilizers, and fuel subsidy for farm machinery to farmers in Regions IV-B (Mimaropa), V (Bicol Region), VI (Western Visayas), VII (Central Visayas), and IX (Zamboanga Peninsula).

Of the P1.05 billion, P288.31 million will be used for clearing operations, P2.19 million for desilting operations, P206.33 million for fuel subsidy for farm machineries, P14.86 million for provision of farm tools, P122.15 million for provision of seeds, P154 million for provision of tractors, and P257.73 million for the distribution of fertilizers.

“The Administration and affected local governments are thus working together to ensure that we make a good deal of progress in our post-calamity efforts in Yolanda-stricken areas. With the fund release, the DA can give our farmers the help they need in recouping their losses and successfully rebuilding their livelihoods,” Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said.

Data from the Agriculture department showed that damage to the agriculture sector from the super typhoon amounted to P31.1 billion as of March 2014. This includes production losses of P27.07 billion in crops, fisheries, and livestock while infrastructure losses—including irrigation systems and facilities—are estimated at P4.06 billion.

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