PILI, CAMARINES SUR — The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Bicol turned over some P12.42 million-worth of agricultural supply and inputs for the rehabilitation of the agriculture sector in Camarines Sur on February 11, 2021 at the DA Regional Field Office (RFO) here.

DA-Bicol Regional Technical Director for Operations Luz R. Marcelino led the turn-over ceremony to the Municipal and City Agriculturists of the 37 local government units (LGUs) in the province. According to Marcelino, the DA RFO has accounted about P5.5 billion-worth of losses caused by the three consecutive typhoons that hit the region in the last quarter of 2020. She added that Camarines Sur was one of the hardest hit provinces in the region with 17,402 hectares of damaged rice and high value crops areas valued at P810 million.

As part of its rehabilitation efforts, the DA-Bicol turned over 1,480 sets of assorted vegetable seeds and 40 sets of garden tools under the High Value Crops Development Program as well as 139 bags of open pollinated variety (OPV) corn seeds, 139 bags of complete fertilizer, and 278 bags of urea fertilizer from the Corn Program. Under the Rice Program, 888 packets of plant growth enhancers were distributed. The LGUs also received 1,000 heads of free-range chicken under the Livestock and Poultry Program.

“Ang Department of Agriculture Regional Office No. 5 po ay naging instrumento para tayo ay makabangon sa ating mga napinsalang sakahan, taniman, and even ng ating mga imprastruktura,” Marcelino said.

Hector Llagas, Municipal Agriculturist of LGU-Bato, Camarines Sur shared that the previous calamities swept about 90 to 95 percent of their rice, HVC, livestock and corn areas. He mentioned that this is because the municipality is a catch basin of flood from Lake Bato. “Yung production sa bayan namin ay talagang bumaba. Yung mga farmers, pagdating sa production, 100 percent bagsak talaga. Pero sa ngayon, sa tulong ng Department of Agriculture, sa mga interventions na ibinigay nila, talagang umaasa po kami na babangon at babangon kami,” he said.

Another municipality that incurred severe damage to crops, livestock, and fishery is Tigaon. Municipal Agriculturist Lea Beltran said that this affected almost 90 percent of people in the area who are dependent on agriculture as their source of income.

“Diiton ang sainda pong income kan nakaaging taon dahil po ngani sa sunod-sunod na bagyo. Salamat sa Department of Agriculture kasi dae kami pinapabayaan na matawanan nin ayuda. Dakulaon na bagay po ini na magkaigwa sindang uumpisahan para makapadagos sinda sa saindang pagtatanom and ang local na gobyerno po dae mi kaya na matawanan sinda nin mga arog kaining ayuda kasi aram ta man po baga na diiton an samuyang pondo kaya dakulaon pong bagay asin pasasalamat mi,” she added.

Rhona D. Huit, an Agricultural Technician in LGU-Caramoan, one of the municipalities in the eastern portion of the province which was devastated by typhoon Rolly attested to the vegetable farmers’ struggles after the successive typhoons saying “Nung panahon na nasa stage na sila na malapit na silang magharvest (saka) dumating yung typhoon… Tamang-tama yung pagbigay ng DA ngayon ng mga pangtanim kasi talagang magagamit nila yun and malaki yung pakinabang sa kanila na kahit doon man lang sa pag-umpisa nila nandoon na yung agriculture office na tumutulong sa kanila.”

DA-Bicol Field Operations Division Chief Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez said that some of the agricultural supply and inputs for the rehabilitation of the agriculture sector in various municipalities and cities in Camarines Sur and in other provinces of Bicol have already been delivered early this year. The said interventions will be distributed by the respective Municipal and City Agriculture Offices to typhoon-affected farmers registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA). The regional office’s rehabilitation efforts will continue this first quarter of 2021. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V)