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DA ALLOTS P3.4-B AID FOR CALAMITY-HIT FARMERS IN 2019



LIBON, Albay -- Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said on Thursday that the agency has earmarked PHP3.4 billion this year in financial assistance to be given to farmers affected by calamities.

He said thousands of farmers, whose agricultural crops were destroyed by flooding and landslides spawned by heavy rains brought by Tropical Depression Usman, would be given financial assistance by the agency.

Piñol said some 28,714 farmers tilling 12,000 hectares of agricultural land that were totally destroyed by the floods and landslide that hit Bicol would benefit from the PHP25,000 soft loan assistance and the PHP5,000 aid under the Survival and Recovery Assistance Program (SURE) of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Aside from this financial assistance, rice farmers would be given free seeds to replace their agriculture produce destroyed by floods and landslides.

Piñol held a farmers’ forum dubbed "Biyaheng Bukid Tapatan: Gobierno at Mamamayan” at the Libon town Gymnasium where he turned over PHP3.2 million worth of farm materials and agriculture machinery to 1,000 members of organized farmers group in said town.

Emilia Bordado, DA Bicol spokesperson, said the initial losses to agriculture due to Usman was placed at PHP596.3 million.

Bordado said Usman triggered floods and landslide, which affected 31,000 hectares of agricultural lands in Bicol. Of this figure 12,000 hectares were totally destroyed and 19,000 hectares partially destroyed with a chance of recovery.

The report said the rice sector incurred the biggest losses with PHP514 million or 16,331 metric tons of palay, followed by corn with PHP27.5 million, high-value crops with PHP40 million, livestock with PHP12.7 million and fisheries with PHP871,050.

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