The Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR) has recorded an estimate of Php2,675,475,490.17 total agricultural damages and losses in the region as of 5:00 PM yesterday, September 17, 2018 due to typhoon “Ompong”. A total of 170,940 farmers are initially reported to be affected by the typhoon.
Based from the Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Division’s (PMED) initial consolidated progress report, the agricultural damages and losses were mostly on rice, corn, and high value crops. Corn had the highest recorded damage/losses at Php1,849,926,408.23 followed by rice amounting to Php415,694,951.73. Other agricultural damages and losses are on high value crops (Php336,113,824.14), agricultural infrastructures (Php68,232,056.07), and livestock and poultry (Php5,508,250).
In the progress report, there are a total of 140,543.69 hectares of agricultural areas affected by typhoon “Ompong”, 5,725 hectares of which were totally damaged.
During the visit of President Rodrigo R. Duterte and some of his cabinet secretaries in La Trinidad, Benguet on Sept. 17, DA Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol reported that the total damages and losses to the agricultural sector nationwide due to typhoon “Ompong” increased to Php14.27 billion affecting a total of 553,704 hectares of agricultural areas.
Sec. Piñol noted that “Ompong” is the second most destructive typhoon in recent memory that hit the country. The first one is typhoon “Yolanda” which caused around Php35 billion total damages and losses in the agricultural sector.
The DA-CAR’s consolidated report are subject for validation by the Department’s created post disaster validation team, thus, the initial estimates on damages and losses may increase further depending on the validation result afterwards. Possible assistance for the affected farmers are being tackled within the DA.
ACPC’s assistance programs
On the other hand, Sec. Piñol reiterated the various assistance programs under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), an attached and authorized agency under DA, that the farmers can avail of. In times of calamities such as typhoons, the farmers can avail of the SURE or Survival and Recovery Program wherein they can apply a loan of up to Php20,000 at zero percent interest rate. This is payable within a span of three years. ACPC’s Project Management Officer for Benguet Ms. Kristle Ann Balingan said that the program is offered for those areas being declared by authorized agencies/offices as “under State of Calamity”.
Aside from that, the ACPC also has its regular program known as Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) Program which noted a 100% repayment rate from its first initial Php46 million credit in the region.
The PLEA program provides non-collateralized loans to marginalized and small farmers and fishers wherein the loans are coursed through grassroot-based organizations for easier credit access. These organizations include cooperatives, coop banks, farmer associations, people’s organizations, and other institutions that have been evaluated as qualified lending conduits based on program policies and implementing guidelines.
Accordingly, the maximum loanable amount that a farmer or fisherfolk can borrow under the Program is Php50,000 depending on the type of their agricultural/fishery commodities. The loan is payable from two to 10 years with an interest rate of 6% per year or 0.5% per month.
Other programs of the ACPC are the Working Capital Loan Program and the Roll out Farm Machineries Loan Program. The former program can be availed by organizations with existing operations on trading and marketing of agricultural products while the latter aims to shift the regular machinery-related assistance program from subsidy to credit.
Sec. Piñol urged the people, specifically the farmers to not hesitate and be informed of the various accessible and affordable loan programs of the government that they can avail of especially in time of calamities.
More information and dissemination activities are in tune for the concerned government offices to reach out further to its intended beneficiaries.//JBAgrifino