MANILA (Mabuhay) – Agriculture losses for the year has now amounted to P33 billion, much higher than the average P26 billion for the past 5 years.
Agriculture Undersecretary Dante de Lima said this is due to the successive calamities, from typhoon “Santi” which ravaged Nueva Ecija, the Bohol earthquake and the recent super typhoon “Yolanda.”
The Department of Agriculture stressed the importance for the government to release its 2014 budget at the soonest possible time.
The DA said it needs at least P5.5 billion in order to carry out clearing, recovery and rehabilitation in affected areas.
“Farmers cannot wait, planting season cannot wait,” de Lima said.
He added affected areas should be able to start planting in four months so they can harvest early next year.
For Typhoon Yolanda alone, a total of 203,870 families or 873,666 individuals have been affected.
The UN Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) is already extending technical and financial assistance in the rehabilitation efforts of typhoon stricken areas.
The FAO is also formulating a 3 year rehabilitation plan with the DA.
The DA clarified though, that if certain delays are encountered, the impact will be isolated in affected regions only.
The National Food Authority meanwhile will be importing 500,000 MT of rice to cover the loss in production and address ongoing relief requirements.(MNS)