MOTORISTS and commuters wade through the flooded Taft Avenue in this photo taken on July 27, 2023. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ EDD GUMBAN

By Sheldeen Joy Talavera, Reporter

AGRICULTURE damage from Super Typhoon Egay (international name: Doksuri) has reached P4.66 billion, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Monday.

In a bulletin, the agency said the typhoon had affected 187,225 farmers and fisherfolk, with a total volume loss of 158,995 metric tons (MT) covering 200,456 hectares of farmland.

Affected commodities included rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock and poultry, and fisheries, it said. 

Irrigation systems, agricultural and fishery infrastructure, and fishing paraphernalia were also damaged.

Affected regions were the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Soccsksargen and Caraga.

Rice damage hit P1.79 billion, with a volume of production loss at 42,778 MT, or 0.22% of the total annual output target.

About P356 million worth of farm and irrigation infrastructure, P314.11 million worth of high-value crops, P157.32 million worth of livestock and poultry and P175.39 million worth of fisheries were damaged by the typhoon.

Farmer groups demanded immediate help and rehabilitation from the government.

“We are facing two major problems in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Egay — heavy agriculture and fishery production losses, and price surges of rice, vegetables, livestock, poultry, and all food stuff,” Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Chairman Danilo H. Ramos said in a statement.

“The Department of Agriculture should take serious actions to address these concerns,” he added.

The group called for P25,000 cash aid to farmers whose farms and crops were damaged and fishers who failed to sail in the past weeks due to Egay and the southwest monsoon.

“They will also be needing significant long-term rehabilitation assistance for their damaged houses, destroyed crops, damaged fishing boats and means of livelihood swept away in the flood,” Mr. Ramos said.

“We are here to emphasize the urgency of our demands,” Marina Cavan, spokesperson of the National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates-Youth said in a separate statement. “The suffering of our farmers and fishers cannot be ignored any longer, and the government must act decisively to aid them.”

DA said it would distribute P65.3 million worth of rice seeds and fertilizers, P94.7 million worth of corn seeds and pesticides and P39.6 million worth of assorted vegetable seeds.

Tilapia, carp and catfish fingerlings worth P62,000 and fuel assistance worth P5.9 million are also available for distribution to affected fisherfolk. The government will also help repair damaged motorized boats worth P1.9 million.