DA chief assures enough food supply, 2012 agri growth still positive

AGRICULTURE Secretary Proceso J. Alcala assured the general public that there is enough food supply despite the damage caused by typhoon ‘Pablo,’ and that the country’s agriculture and fishery sector would register a positive growth for the 4thquarter and the entire 2012.

He said the recent calamity will not adversely affect the total national food and rice supply.

The DA chief, who accompanied President Aquino during a visit to typhoon-affected areas in Compostela province, was briefed by DA Davao region officials led by Director Constancio Maghanoy, Jr., on the extent of the typhoon damage, and the various interventions to help affected farmers, fisherfolk and their respective communities to recover and start anew.

As of December 8, 2012, Secretary Alcala said agricultural damage due to typhoon ‘Pablo’ has reached P8.5 billion (B), with the banana industry in Davao region suffering the bulk, at P5.6 B, followed by the coconut sector, which reported losses amounting to about P767 million (M).

Damage to livestock amounted to P393M, while corn and rice suffered losses of P245M and P177M, respectively.

Typhoon ‘Pablo’ also damaged several irrigation systems worth P1.17 B, and other fishery and other infrastructure, worth P25.8M, for a total of P1.19 B.

During a meeting with DA Davao regional officials, led by Director Constancio Maghanoy, Jr., Secretary Alcala instructed them to speed up the delivery services and provision of interventions so that affected farmers and fisherfok would recover and resume their farming and fishing enterprises.

In Davao region, he said initial DA assistance includes the distribution of about 15,719 bags certified rice seeds, open-pollinated and hybrid corn seeds, and thousands of tissue cultured banana plantlets, including veterinary drugs and biologics for livestock raisers.

“We are currently implementing measures to help Cavendish banana growers so that they will be able to meet the delivery schedule of their overseas contracts,” he added. To assist exporters fulfill their commitments, he said the DA will help them source from unaffected plantations in Regions 10, 12 and ARMM.

He said the DA through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) will set aside P22M for the insurance claims of banana farmers.

The DA through Philippine Coconut Authority will undertake a massive replanting and fertilization program in Davao region, with an initial budget of P50 million, according to PCA administrator Euclides Forbes.

The DA’s National Irrigation Administration (NIA) will likewise immediately repair and restore damaged irrigation systems in four regions, led by Davao (P812M), CARAGA (P302M), Region 12 (P49M), and ARMM (P4.5M).

For its part, the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has deployed two of its MCS patrol vessels manned by Philippine Coast Guard personnel for rescue and retrieval operations.

The agency also distributed to affected fish farmers millions of bangus fingerlings and, bamboo poles to reconstruct damaged fish pens, and 1,250 packs of relief goods (rice, water, sardines), totaling P9.3M.

Finally, Secretary Alcala said the DA’s National Food Authority (NFA) will lend affected local government units with rice on credit.

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