By Genalyn Kabiling
The ash explosion of Taal Volcano may eventually replenish soil nutrients and improve its fertility despite the multimillion peso damage to agriculture, a Department of Agriculture official said Wednesday.
Agriculture Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan said past volcanic eruptions have resulted in the rebirth of the soil, particularly the renewal of nutrients over the long term.
“Out of this calamity ay mayroon naman pong beneficial na mangyayari (there is also a benefit) but of course that benefit is not compensating iyong damage,” he said in a Palace press briefing.
“Alam naman po natin, noong 16th something, 18th something century ay pumutok din po iyan at nabago po niya iyong geographic condition, including the agro-climatic condition, kanya po ang nakikita po nating benepisyo rito ay na-replenish po iyong soil natin (In the 16th or 18th century, when that volcano erupted, it changed the geographic condition, including the agro-climatic condition. The benefit we see is that the soil is replenished). There is a short-term, medium-, and long-term benefit kaparehas po ng (just like with) Mt. Pinatubo.”
Cayanan, however. said the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) will still conduct soil samplings and analysis to determine the impact of the volcanic activity.
“Inutusan po natin ang Bureau of Soils and Water Management kung ano po ang magiging bagong kalagayan after that eruption (The BSWM has been ordered to determine the new conditions after that eruption),” he said.
The agricultural damage caused by the volcanic eruption has so far reached P577.59 million, affecting 2,772 hectares and 1,967 animal heads, according to the DA official. Among the affected commodities are vegetables, bananas, coffee, corn, rice, and livestock.
He said the DA has distributed P21.7 million worth of combined interventions for crops and livestock to Batangas. The assistance package includes provision of livestock for restocking, rice and corn seeds, high-value crops, planting materials, and other production inputs.
Some 5,000 coffee mother plants and 1,000 cacao seedlings will also be distributed in damaged coffee and cacao areas, he said.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will also provide fingerlings for fishes once aquaculture operations in the lake resume.