'Maring' left P1.7 billion in agricultural losses; 42,000 agri workers affected— DA

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2021 12:31 PM | Updated as of Oct 16 2021 02:47 PM

Farmers try to save cavans of corn as heavy rains brought by severe tropical storm Maring cause flooding in Baggao, Cagayan on October 11, 2021. Photo courtesy of Bobby Dumayag, Jr
Farmers try to save cavans of corn as heavy rains brought by severe tropical storm Maring cause flooding in Baggao, Cagayan on October 11, 2021. Photo courtesy of Bobby Dumayag, Jr

MANILA— Severe Tropical Storm Maring has left some P1.7 billion worth of agricultural losses in its wake, affecting thousands of fisherfolk and farmers in Luzon, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Saturday. 

Based on the DA's disaster monitoring as of Saturday morning, agricultural damage already reached P1.74 billion, with volume of production loss pegged at 91,422 metric tons. 

A total of 68,137 hectares of agricultural areas were also affected. These were logged in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, and Soccsksargen, the DA said. 

"Affected commodities include rice, corn, high value crops, livestock, fisheries, irrigation, agri-facilities. These values are subject to validation," the agency's report read. 

In a public briefing, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista said some 42,000 fisherfolk and farmers are reeling from the agricultural damage.

Loans, seeds, and medicine for affected livestock would be made available to help these agricultural workers, according to Evangelista. 

"Mayroon po tayong, as quick response, binhi na ibibigay sa kanila para sa rice, sa corn. Umaabot po 'yan sa mga 168,000 para matulungan sila pagtanim nila, para pag-ready na ang lupa, makapagtanim na uli," the official said in the virtual briefing.

(We have 168,000 seeds that we will give them for rice and corn. That's about 168,000, this is to help them plant these seeds once the soil is ready.)

"Kasama po dun 'yung mga kababayan natin na naapektuhan ang kanilang animals, sa livestock.. Mayroon po tayong gamot para sa kanilang farm animals para di na sila gumastos," she added. 

(This includes the medicine for the affected livestock, so they will no longer pay for it.)

HIGH PRICES OF PRODUCE

According to Evangelista, the agricultural losses would lead to high prices of vegetables in the capital region. 

The agency is looking for alternative regions to source agricultural products to prevent prices from soaring, she added. 

"'Yung dating galing sa Region 2, maghanap po ng iba pang lugar na nagtatanim ng low-land vegetables para po mapunuan ang pangangailangan sa gulay dito sa Metro Manila," the official said.

(For produce sourced from Region 2, we will look for other places where they could get low-land vegetables to augment the supply here in Metro Manila.)

"Basically, we are augmenting from different regions para hindi masyado magalaw ang presyo ng gulay para na rin sa ating consumers (so the price of vegetables will not be affected)."

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Friday said the country's 13th storm killed 30 during its onslaught in Luzon. 

Maring dumped more than a month's worth of rain in two days as it swept across the archipelago this week, the agency told Agence France-Presse. 

— With a report from Agence France-Presse.

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