Farmers and livestock raisers in typhoon-hit island of Catanduanes recently received P5.5 million rehab assistance from DA Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD).

One hundred rice farmers who are beneficiaries of (SAAD) received 100 sacks of palay (RC-222 variety) at 40 kg per sack, including 100 bags of complete fertilizer at 50 kg per bag in March 2021. The palay seeds and fertilizers were equally divided by two organized farmers’ associations in Catanduanes: the San Roque Palay Association (SAROPA), composed of 50 farmers from the municipalities of Bato and Gigmoto, and the Rainfed Island Rice Growers Association, with 50 members also from Bagamanoc and San Miguel.

“Hindi kami nakapag-ani noong nakaraang taon dahil nasira ang aming mga pananim na palay noong bumagyo…Ang naibigay na tulong ng DA SAAD sa aming grupo ay napakahalaga dahil malaki na ang aming matitipid. Hindi na namin kailangan pang bumili ng binhi at abono. Maaari na naming magamit ang perang nakalaan para sa binhi sa aming mga gastusin sa araw-araw kaya naman lubos kaming nagpapasalamat sa DA SAAD at sa lahat ng mga nagpapatupad nito”, shared Sergio T. Tenerife, member of SAROPA from Brgy. Cagraray, Bato.

Catanduanes was severely hit by Super typhoon Rolly on October 31, 2020 leaving P1.4 billion damages to agriculture, infrastructure and postharvest facilities in Catanduanes. Prior to that, typhoon Quinta which ravaged Catanduanes on October 24-25, 2020 wrought a total of P437 million damages to agriculture and fisheries.

In addition to the palay seeds and complete fertilizers, the SAAD program also distributed empty sacks, sickle, and laminated sacks.

Meanwhile, 66 livestock beneficiaries of SAAD in Bato and San Miguel, Catanduanes who were affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in the first quarter of 2021 also received 10 to 12 heads of native chickens under the SAAD Native Chicken Production Project. These farmers were also affected by the typhoons in the last quarter of 2020.

According to Baberly S. Publico of Brgy. San Roque, Bato, they were discouraged when some of the pigs distributed by SAAD in October 2020 were affected by ASF and were included in depopulation. It was a great loss on their part since they are yet to earn profit from raising the pigs. They were however delighted when they received the native chickens as a replacement. In a few months, they will be able to collect eggs that they can sell for profit or for their consumption.

Ten out of 11 municipalities in Catanduanes province were tagged as ASF red zones and hogs within the 500 meters to 1 kilometer radius from the infected area or ground zero have to be depopulated as mandated in the DA-BAI protocol.

These interventions provided the affected farmers a chance to recover and hopefully contribute to the revitalization of the agriculture sector in the province. The beneficiaries are also being monitored through regular field visits of SAAD implementers in the province.

(Lovella P. Guarin/ with reports from Sarah Jane Taway / photo credit: SAAD Catanduanes)