Amid rice woes: Agri damage due to Goring, habagat now at P1.14B – DA
MANILA, Philippines — Super Typhoon Goring and the southwest monsoon caused an estimated P1.14 billion in agricultural damage, substantially impacting rice and adding pressure to the Philippines’ already scant grain supply.
Based on the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) latest assessment Wednesday, the damage translated to a total volume loss of 51,283 metric tons, with 35,006 farmers affected.
The DA said rice, the most affected commodity, suffered a volume loss of 41,238 metric tons, amounting to P979.42 million.
Corn crops came in second, with a volume loss of 9,723 metric tons worth P148.06 million.
The DA also reported 322 metric tons of loss in high-value crops worth P12.5 million and damage in livestock and poultry worth P2.59 million.
Numerous sectors call for the government to take decisive measures to address the potential rice crisis and anticipated price hikes, stressing that lessons should have already been drawn from the past onion shortage. President Marcos recently directed the National Food Authority (NFA) to bolster its rice reserves through imports and local supply due to inadequate buffer stocks.
Although relying on imported rice, the President stressed that import volume would gradually decrease. Despite his assurance, on August 2, the NFA announced that its inventory only be good for two days’ supply, falling short of the minimum nine-day requirement.
To avert a similar crisis in the rice industry, Nueva Ecija 3rd District Representative Ria Vergara called for definitive action to curb the practices of some traders. She cautioned against using the El Niño season and international rice scarcity as pretexts for manipulating rice availability and pricing, as the country previously saw in the onion sector.
Meanwhile, the DA said it is continuing to coordinate with local government units and is already implementing the following interventions to assist those affected:
- Php 100 million worth of rice, corn, and assorted vegetable seeds;
- Drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry;
- Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Program from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) with a loanable amount of up to PhP 25,000 payable in three years at zero interest; and
- Quick Response Fund (QRF) for the rehabilitation of affected areas.