DA Asked to Help Fishers Hit by Typhoon

October 19, 2010

Mario B. Casayuran
Manila Bulletin
October 19, 2010

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate agriculture and fisheries committee asked on Tuesday the Department of Agricutlrue (DA) to extend all possible forms of assistance and relief to farmers and agricultural workers hit by super typhoon “Juan.’’

The committee, chaired by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, also pushed for wider crop insurance coverage and strengthened crop insurance measures to protect farmers from the regular onslaught of typhoons in various parts of the country.

Pangilinan cited a report by the National Food Authority (NFA) last Monday night that “up to 70 percent” of unmilled rice crop in the northern Philippines could have been damaged by Typhoon “Juan.’’

He also mentioned news reports quoting Andrew Villacorta, DA executive director in Cagayan Valley, that the estimated losses could go up to 159,000 metric tons of rice.

This covers 88,000 hectares in Isabela and up to 63,000 metric tons in 43,000 hectares in Cagayan province.

Pangilinan, likewise, asked that provincial governments should set aside emergency funds and extend emergency loans to help the affected agriculture sector.

“We also need to start developing long-term, sustainable measures to address the usual threats faced by our farmers. The Philippines is battered by an average of twenty tropical cyclones a year, yet we always seem to be caught by  surprise when a storm hits. We ought to strengthen crop protection measures for our farmers, who are always the biggest losers when faced with natural calamities,’’ he said.

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