THE ESTIMATE of damage to agriculture done by Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) has risen to P8.4 billion, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

The DA estimated the lost production at 175,720 metric tons, with 125,161 farmers and fishermen affected across 347,072 hectares.

Fisheries accounted for P2.8 billion of the estimated losses, affecting over 50,029 fisherfolk.

Losses to the rice crop were reckoned at P1.9 billion, with over 76,372 hectares affected. Coconut losses hit P1.5 billion across 211,630 hectares and sugarcane P1.2 billion over 51,159 hectares.

Losses of high-value crops like cacao, banana, and root crops were estimated at P315.4 million across 2,760 hectares while corn losses were P190.2 million over 5,150 hectares.

Separately, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said it will give typhoon victims priority in the distribution of unused government-owned land (GOL).

Agrarian Reform Secretary Bernie F. Cruz said in a statement that all unused GOL and private agricultural land could be immediately distributed to potential agrarian reform beneficiaries in storm-hit provinces.

“As per the directive of the President, all regional directors are directed to submit a consolidated list of all unused GOL inventory of the Field Operations Office and private agricultural lands to the Office of the Secretary, copy furnished the Offices of the Undersecretaries for Field Operations and Policy, Planning and Research on or before Jan. 10, 2022 for distribution in the first quarter of 2022,” Mr. Cruz said.

The DAR said it would expedite the acquisition and distribution of land to be completed in three months, or until the first quarter of 2022.

The Aboitiz Group, through the Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., said it has mobilized its units to send aid to typhoon victims in the Visayas and Mindanao.

The foundation allocated around P15 million for the distribution of relief goods and deployed over 500 linemen to restore power in Cebu, Surigao del Norte, and other affected communities.

“Providing immediate needs to the communities has been our priority in our relief efforts through our ‘Bangon VisMin’ initiative… the foundation will continue to provide relief and support rebuilding efforts true to our promise of advancing business and communities, said Aboitiz Foundation President Maribeth L. Marasigan in a press release.

Operations were assisted by the Army Reserve Command and the Philippine Air Force Civil Military Operations Group. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson