Losses in the country’s agriculture sector from super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) reached P3.7 billion, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported on Monday.
Based on initial estimates and partial reports as of November 10, DA Assistant Secretary for Operations Edilberto de Luna said that the super typhoon has already affected 71,000 hectares of agricultural areas.
Rice sector suffered the biggest blow with P2.22 billion, or 131,611 metric tons of palay in some 67,095 hectares were damaged by strong winds and heavy rains. This represents 1.84 percent reduction of the last quarter national rice production targets.
Majority of the damage were reported in Region 8 with P1.96 billion, followed by Region 5 with P106 million and Region VI with P76 million.
For corn, losses amounted to P48.5 million as 4,000 MT were uprooted and broken during the height of the typhoon.
Damage to irrigation facilities reached P212.7 million, while agricultural infrastructure damages are at P2.7 million, while losses to fisheries are estimated at P1.16 billion.
In an interview, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that they do not expect damages to crops sector to further increase, noting that majority of the areas hit by the typhoon were already harvested.
“For crops, I think this [damage figures]is about it. If ever there will be more reports coming in, I’m more concerned about the damage in poultry and livestocks,” he said.
“If ever there will be additional cost on the damage, it will P500 million to P1 billion,” he added.
Meanwhile, Alcala said that they now evaluating supply chain for livestock and poultry, particularly in Daanbantayan Island, which is the major producer and supplier of eggs and chicken in the Visayas.
“This early, we are already making roadmap on how to augment the possible shortage in supply and prevent prices increase in the region. Look are now talking with suppliers from Bicol and Luzon to ship their produce if they have the capacity,” he said.
Alcala added that it would take two to three weeks before poultry suppliers in Visayas can rehabilitate their facility, and to bring back its regular supply.
For livestock, the DA chief assured that there will be no shortage of meat, noting that the industry has enough supply in their warehouse to meet demand until the holidays.
For its part, the National Food Authority (NFA) has intensified its rice distribution efforts in the Visayas region which was badly damaged by typhoon Yolanda.
NFA administrator Orlan Calayag has instructed neighboring Regions 4, 5, 6 and 7 to augment rice stocks in Region 8 while calling on the regional office to secure remaining stocks in its warehouses for immediate release to calamity victims especially in the worst-hit Tacloban.
Even before the calamity, Calayag said the NFA has pre-positioned stocks that included 20,000 bags from Cebu to Maasin, Southern Leyte; 20,000 from Mindoro to Coron, Palawan.
Calayag has also ordered the sending of employees to typhoon-stricken areas to strengthen or intensify dispersal operations and assist concerned relief agencies in the repacking of NFA rice for relief operations.
In a memorandum dated November 8, 2013, Calayag initially authorized the release of 47,500 bags to DSWD prior to typhoon Yolanda. This is on top of the rice releases to other relief agencies, the local government units (LGUs) as well as private institutions.
The NFA has also been asked by DSWD for additional rice for other relief purposes: 50,000 bags in NCR; 50,000 in Cebu; 10,000 in CARAGA; 10,000 in Region 5 or a total of 125,000 bags.
Despite the great damage wrought by typhoon Yolanda, the NFA has assured the people of the affected areas that government rice remains available, accessible and affordable.
The NFA chief assured that food security stocks were maintained in affected areas of Mindoro and Palawan in region 4; all provinces in region 5; Aklan, Capiz and Iloilo in region 6; Cebu in region 7 and all provinces in CARAGA.
As of presstime, NFA team from Region 5 carrying truckloads of rice has been readied for deployment to Region 8.
Calayag said warehouses are open for relief operations and palay procurement. This is being complemented by constant market monitoring and regular coordination with LGUs and other relief agencies. JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ