MANILA -- The Bureau of Plant Industry aims to procure this year almost 173,000 kilograms (kg) of various crop seeds for distribution to calamity-hit areas.
The target procurement for buffer stocking covers 140,000 kg of certified rice seeds and 30,000 kg of corn seeds, said BPI rice program focal person Aileen Agcaoili.
The bureau also targets procuring 2,400 kg of various vegetable seeds this year, Agcaoili said.
"We aim to have the seeds on or before July in preparation for the rainy season," she added.
She said the bureau had already started the bidding process for the seeds' procurement.
"Areas that can request our buffer stocks must be those hit by either natural or man-made calamities," said BPI planning head Rhoda Grace Pintuan.
Pintuan cited communities affected by Mayon Volcano's eruption and the armed conflict in Marawi City as among those that can request free seeds from the bureau and the Department of Agriculture.
Alert level 4 remains in Mayon Volcano, as Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said hazardous eruption remains a threat in the area.
Phivolcs continues warning the public against entering Mayon's danger zone.
In its Feb. 5, 2018 situation report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said crop damage from volcanic activities in Mayon had reached almost PHP166 million.
The activities also led to the evacuation of 681 cattle, carabaos, and horses, the NDRRMC noted.
The council said the unrest in Mayon had led to the declaration of Albay province as being under a state of calamity.
Meanwhile, the government has begun rehabilitating Marawi City, after declaring this city liberated from months of terrorist siege. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency