‘Dodong’ said to be beneficial to farms

The effects of Typhoon “Dodong” on farms were “generally beneficial,” with damage reported so far barely reaching P3 million, according to Agriculture Undersecretary Emerson U. Palad.

Based on the Department of Agriculture’s (DA’s) monitoring as of May 11, field workers reported no damage and losses in the Ilocos region, Central Luzon, Bicol and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Reports from these regions mention only “cloudy skies with intermittent rains and moderate gusty winds,” Palad said.

“The rains brought by the typhoon were generally beneficial particularly in land preparation activities,” said Palad, who is in charge of field operations at the DA.

All of the damage reported so far was in Cagayan province, relating mostly to rice farms. Two fatalities were also reported in Cagayan.

“The commodities affected were rice and corn, all in maturity stage,” Palad said. “(So far), the total value of losses from the region due to Dodong is pegged at P2.7 million.”

Of the total, P2.52 million pertains to 140 hectares of affected rice fields, representing 144 tons of palay.

Also, 16 hectares of corn farms are believed to have lost 14 tons of grain worth P187,200.

No chance of recovery

According to field reports, there is no chance of recovery for these crops.

“We are still awaiting and validating the reports coming from other areas affected by the typhoon,” Palad said. “Technical staffs from DA and concerned LGUs are continuing field assessments.”

In a related development, the Food and Agriculture Organization is pushing for a strategy to use information and communication technology (ICT) to help safeguard farmers from losses, especially small holders.

“These applications could range from a farmer using a smartphone to scan the barcode of a packet of certified seeds—something that could ensure quality and a fair price—to the installation of low-cost sensors at the village-level for hyperlocal weather information,” FAO assistant director general Hiroyuki Konuma said in a statement.

Globally, the use of ICT interventions in agriculture is gaining attention amid concerns over food losses due to natural disasters, or lack of timely information during planting or harvesting, as well as increased pressure for food traceability or tracking production, processing and distribution of food items.

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