May 16, 2020


Over 200,000 hectares rice, corn farms at risk in Philippines



As Typhoon Ambo hit the Philippines, almost 266,000 hectares of rice and corn farms are at risk, making the Department of Agriculture (DA) to release portions of its Quick Response Fund (QRF), reported Manila Bulletin.


Based on the latest data from the DA's Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRM), Ambo, the first storm to make a landfall in the Philippines for this year, will affect rice and corn areas, particularly those under reproductive and maturity stages.


At risk to possible destruction by the typhoon are some 175,954 hectares of rice farms and 89,303 hectares of corn farms located in Bicol Region and Western Visayas.


Agriculture Spokesperson Noel Reyes said the DA is now prepared and that interventions are now being positioned.


"We have funds for this under the QRF," Reyes said in a virtual press briefing on Thursday.


However, Reyes did not specify the amount of money that will be withdrawn from QRF, which is a built-in fund allocation or stand-by budget that certain agencies can tap into immediately to assist areas stricken by natural calamities.


As for the other interventions, DA's DRRM said rice seeds worth 75,875 bags has already been prepositioned for the affected areas, while it is 8,448 bags for corn seeds.


DA also prepositioned drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry needs, as well as funds from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to indemnify farmers.


The other day, DRRM said that despite the risks, Ambo may be beneficial to areas experiencing a dry spell, particularly to crops that are on their newly planted and vegetative stages, and to other farming operations that need moisture, including land preparation.


Ambo may also replenish any rainwater harvesting facilities such as dams and small scale irrigation projects, DRRM added.

For this month, an average of 12%, equivalent to 109,317 hectares of rice, are ready for harvest in CAR, Regions I, II, III, IV-A, V, VI, VII and VIII, the regions along the predicted path of Ambo.


Farmers have been advised to harvest mature crops and mobilise post-harvest facilities; secure seed reserves, planting materials and other farm inputs to higher ground, as well as feed and water for livestock; relocate farm machineries and equipment to higher ground; and clear drainage in irrigation and rice paddies from obstructions to prevent flooding.


Meanwhile, fisherfolk are advised to perform early harvest and mobilise post-harvest equipment and facilities; secure fishing vessels in higher ground; and dismiss sea travel as potentially rough conditions prevail over affected seaboards.