Agricultural damage caused by the eruption of the Taal volcano affects P577 million

LIVESTOCK ABANDONED. Ash covers livestock and trees in Laurel, Batangas on January 13, 2020, following the eruption of the Taal volcano. Photo by Lisa Marie David / Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – In the midst of the ongoing eruption of the Taal volcano, the cost of agricultural damage has risen to P577.59 million from a previous figure of P74.55 million.

At noon on Tuesday January 14, the Department of Agriculture (DA) stated that 2,772 hectares and 1,967 animals had been affected in the Calabarzon region. Damaged products include rice, corn, coffee, cocoa, banana and high value crops. (READ: Taal Volcano ashfall ruins Batangas’ famous kapeng barako)

The DA’s Calabarzon office will distribute a value of 21.7 million PU to the local government units in the Batangas province listed below. The aid will be in the form of cattle and seeds, among others.

  • Agoncillo
  • San Nicolas
  • Talisay
  • Lemery
  • Laurel
  • Lipa City
  • San Jose
  • Nasugbu
  • Mataas na Kahoy
  • Balete
  • Cuenca
  • Alitagtag
  • Father Garcia
  • Tanauan City
  • Malvar
  • Taal

The Bureau of Plant Industry will also provide the following:

  • 5,000 mother coffee plants
  • 1,000 cocoa seedlings

Despite the agricultural damage, the Office for Soil and Water Management said that the volcanic eruption contributes to the “birth of the soil” which renews and replenishes nutrients for better medium and long-term soil fertility.

Livestock Rescue: The Bureau of Animal Industry will be able to supply medicines for the affected livestock. Two trucks were made available for the rescue and evacuation of the animals.

During the evacuation, residents of San Nicolas, Batangas, had expressed fear about the cattle they had left behind.

Some of them managed to return home on Monday 13 January, only to find their dead cattle. Other residents were forced to abandon their pigs, cows, horses and goats.

Tilapia production: The DA estimated a production loss of 15,033 tons in the fisheries sector, adding that this could reduce the supply of tilapia in Metro Manila.

Meanwhile, the tilapia sources of the Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Laguna and Rizal are monitored by the Office for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and by the Agri-Food and Marketing Assistance Service to increase the offer in Metro markets Manila.

BFAR will also provide production loans to tilapia producers in central Luzon.

Once the aquaculture operation in Lake Taal resumes, BFAR aims to provide fingerling. In particular, the following will be provided:

  • 7 million tilapia fingers
  • 20,000 ulang fingerling
  • 50,000 hito fingerling
  • 100,000 carp fingerling
  • 5,000 ayungin fingers:

Other help: The Agricultural Credit Policy Council will provide P30 30 million to the Mount Carmel Rural Bank for its loan and survival recovery program, with the aim of benefiting approximately 1,200 Batangas farmers and fishermen.

The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation also has funds available for insured farmers and fishermen affected by the eruption of the Taal volcano.

Meanwhile, the National Food Authority has 168,758 bags of rice ready to be distributed to the affected areas. Rice was stored in warehouses away from the ashes. – Rappler.com

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