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Mayon eruption destroys P100-M crops in Albay

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The eruption of Mayon volcano has destroyed an initial P100 million worth of agricultural crops in the province, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Thursday.

The damaged crops included rice, corn, vegetables and root crops covering a total of around 3,775 hectares of farmlands based on a DA report as of January 23.

Che Rebeta, DA-Albay provincial director, said during the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council media briefing here on Thursday morning that palay production incurred the biggest losses in all areas of the agricultural industry.

Affected areas are Tabaco City with P333,150 worth of losses, Daraga-P3.1 million, Camalig-P4.8 million, Guinobatan- P27.8 million and Polangui – P37.2 million.

“Out of the 3,516 hectares areas planted, 2,933 hectares are equivalent damaged and Albay lost a total of more than 12,000 metric tons (MTs) of rice in just 12 days due to the continuous volcanic activity,” Rebeta said.

For corn production, affected areas incurred a total of more than 291 MTs of corn losses worth about P7.5 million. Those affected are Daraga with P813,696; Guinobatan-P2 million and Polangui with P4.6 million.

For assorted vegetables and root crops, areas affected incurred total losses of more than 35,988 MTs worth about P19.8 million broken down as Camalig-P1 million; Polangui- P17 million and Oas, P799, 920.

“Crops planted in the 7-km danger zone are totally damaged due to heavy ash fall resulting in burning of crops and leaves; early harvest
of some high value crops such as tomato was done by the affected farmers,” Rebeta said.

For the coconut industry, DA-Albay is still consolidating reports submitted by affected areas.

“More than 5,000 farmers were affected by the damage and since they cannot go into farming, we are collaborating with other agencies like Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA),Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Ako-Bicol Partylist (AKB) to intervene in providing alternative employment for them,” the DA chief said.

The DA said its damage report would be updated as soon as the Municipal Agriculture’s report reaches its office.

“We are now doing the same interventions designed as a massive rehabilitation-recovery effort to recoup production losses by the next cropping season,” Rebeta said. (Philippine News Agency)