February 22, 2024

The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera handed over interventions worth P20 million to the Provincial Government of Benguet for the recovery of highland vegetables, rice, and livestock farmers impacted by Typhoon Egay.

The assistance included various high-value crop vegetable seeds, 368 rolls of HDPE pipes, 742 rolls of polyethylene plastic sheets, 308 sachets of soil ameliorants, and 1,770 ready-to-lay chicken.

A total of 8,399 individual farmers who are affected by typhoon Egay are recipients of the support, based on the masterlists submitted by different local government units.

The initiative was made possible through funds allocated from the DA-Cordillera’s Quick Response Fund, underscoring the government’s commitment to helping those affected by challenging times.

Lito Mocati, agricultural program coordinating officer of Benguet, said the rehabilitation program for Typhoon Egay was formulated based on post-damage assessments.

The damage to the Cordillera’s agri-fisheries sector, involved approximately 24,505.62 hectares of farmland resulting in an estimated loss of P1.3 billion in agriculture.

The corn commodity incurred the most significant damage, followed by high-value crops, rice, agri-infrastructure, and livestock.

The high-value crops received the highest fund allocation, totaling to P18M, followed by rice, which received an allocation of P1.1M, and the livestock sector that was given a funding of P937,000.

Mario Baucas, executive assistant to Benguet Gov. Melchor D. Diclas, expressed gratitude to the agency for the partnership, as he assured the office’s support to the agency for the farmers of Benguet.

Joan D. Bacbac, High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) coordinator, expressed hope the beneficiaries would make optimal use of the assistance provided.

She also underscored the need for strengthened collaboration between the provincial local government unit and DA-Cordillera in monitoring the vegetable industry.

Bacbac highlighted the issue of surplus vegetables and the proposal to provide these to agencies in need, such as jails, schools, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and churches.

Benguet Provincial Agriculturist Delinia Juan assured the interventions would be distributed to affected farmers by the end of this month, emphasizing that beneficiaries would be identified based on consolidated reports submitted by various municipalities affected by Typhoon Egay. Also present during the ceremonial turnover were Crisante Rosario, DA-Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) focal person; Michael Bugtong, assistant DRRM focal person, Cirilo Batan, assistant Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer-Benguet; and Freda Pagaduan, assistant HVCDP coordinator. – Leny D. Mendoza