CROP DAMAGE caused by Typhoon Vongfong has reached P1.04 billion, affecting almost 22,000 farmers, the Department of Agriculture said on Monday.

Hardest hit were the regions of Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Bicol, Eastern Visayas and Central Luzon, the agency said in a bulletin.

Production losses from the storm, locally named Ambo, reached 62,228 metric tons (MT), with 20,652 hectares of agricultural areas affected across four regions, according to the agency’s disaster management council.

High-value crops such as bananas and papayas in Quezon Province were the hardest hit, accounting for almost three-quarters or P755.57 million of the total damage, the Agriculture department said.

Rice, corn, assorted vegetables, livestock and fisheries were also damaged, it added.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said they would fast-track the distribution of aid to affected farmers and fisherfolk.

The agency said it would spend P700 million to repair affected areas and provide rice, corn and vegetable seeds. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave