AFTER FARMS in the northern Luzon area were devastated by typhoon Ompong (international name: Mangkhut), farmers from four mountain towns of Bukidnon pledged to ship vegetables to Metro Manila to augment supply starting this week, according to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol.
The commitment, according to Mr. Piñol, was in response to President Rodrigo R. Dutere’s call for sufficient food supply in the nation’s capital, which relies heavily on vegetables coming from the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan, Central Luzon, and the Cordillera Autonomous Region.
“Local officials and farmers of the towns of Impasugong, Talakag, Sumilao and Lantapan (IMTASULA) committed to ship starting next week tons of fresh vegetables for Metro Manila to fill up for the expected shortage of the commodity from the Cordilleras because of the typhoon,” Mr. Piñol said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
“An initial shipment of one 20-foot refrigerated van will arrive in Manila on Thursday containing carrots, potato, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage,” he added.
The IMTASULA vegetable production area could ship as much as six containers with 20 tons of vegetables each week.
Mr. Piñol also said that four regional areas of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Mindanao are ready to airlift food supplies to northern Luzon provinces damaged by the typhoon.
“I issued instructions to the DA Regional Directors of Regions IX (Zamboanga Peninsula), X (Northern Mindanao), XI (Davao) and XII (SOCCSKSARGEN) to consolidate basic food items… Zamboanga Peninsula has been tasked to supply fish and sardines, Northern Mindanao, vegetables while Davao and (SOCCSKSARGEN) fruits, especially bananas,” Mr. Piñol said.
“The DA will also coordinate with poultry producers in Luzon areas not affected by the typhoon to supply dressed chicken. Hog raisers will also be placed on alert to supply meat to the typhoon-affected areas should there be a need for it,” he added.
Actual figures of the damage has yet to be released by the DA, but a P7-billion cost was projected earlier in a worst-case scenario affecting 893,000 hectares of rice farms alone, and P3.3-billion for a moderate projection.
Corn damages in a worst-case scenario may amount to P6.2 billion for about 483,000 hectares of fields, and P4.2-billion for a moderate scenario. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio