By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Agriculture (DA) extended on Saturday various forms of assistance to farmers, fishers, and other villagers who were adversely affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
Through the provincial government of Batangas, DA-CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) has so far distributed P21.7 million worth of interventions for crops and livestock.
The Bureau of Animal Industry also allotted two trucks for the rescue and evacuation of animals, as well as delivered an initial 20 bags of animal feeds.
To help affected coffee farmers in Batangas and Cavite, the Bureau of Plant Industry has prepositioned 5,000 coffee mother plants and 1,000 cacao seedlings for distribution to the eruption-damaged coffee farms. Batangas and Cavite are known for producing a strong coffee variety called “barako.”
Once aquaculture activities resume in the region, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said it is ready to provide 7 million tilapia fingerlings, 20,000 ulang, 50,000 hito, 100,000 bighead carp, and 5,000 ayungin fingerlings to the farmers.
The Agricultural Credit Policy Council has also provided P30 million to the Rural Bank of Mt. Carmel for the implementation of survival and recovery loan assistance to 1,200 farmers and fisherfolk.
For the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, it has initially estimated P108 million of indemnity for insured farmers and fisherfolk. It assured that funds to cover additional indemnities are available, as adjustments and validation are still ongoing.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Carabao Center provided a mobile clinic with 2.5 tons of feeds for ruminants , 1 ton corn silage, 1.5 tons rice straw animal feeds, drugs, and medicines.
So far, agricultural damage and losses due to Taal Volcano’s eruption have reached P3.06 billion with 15,790 hectares and 1,923 animal head affected in Batangas, Cavite and Laguna.
The affected commodities include coffee, cacao, pineapple, assorted fruits and vegetables, rice, coconut, livestock and fisheries.