AGRICULTURAL damage from the Kanlaon Volcano eruption was estimated at P104.8 million, according to initial reports from the Department of Agriculture (DA).

In a bulletin, volume of crops lost was 3,947.3 metric tons (MT) across 842.3 hectares, affecting 1,706 farmers in the area.

The DA said high-value crops sustained the most damage from ashfall and lahar flow following the eruption on Negros Island. The volcano is entirely within Negros Occidental but is near the border with Negros Oriental.

It added that in volume terms, damage inflicted on high-value crops amounted to 3,890.5 MT, valued at P101.2 million. Farmland affected by ash fall was 816.7 hectares.

Last week, Mount Kanlaon started erupting with a 5,000-meter ash plume, according to Phivolcs, the government volcanology service.

Phivolcs had placed Mt. Kanlaon under Alert Level 2, signifying a moderate level of volcanic activity.

Damage to the rice crop was valued at P1.37 million, with the volume of lost crops at 56.8 MT. Damage to the corn crop was P122 thousand, while damage to livestock was P2.17 million.

The DA said its Western and Central Visayas offices will provide seed, planting materials and bio-control measures to affected farmers. A quick response fund will also be tapped to rehabilitate farmland.

The DA said the Agricultural Credit Policy Council will lend farmers up to P25,000, payable in three years at zero interest. — Adrian H. Halili