Tacloban City - The Department of Agriculture has reported significant damages to the agricultural sector in Samar provinces, estimating losses at PHP104.96 million due to recent extensive flooding. In its latest assessment, the department indicated that the adverse weather has impacted a substantial number of farmers and farmlands across three Samar provinces.
According to Philippines News Agency, the affected areas include 4,571 farmers and 2,751 hectares of agricultural land. The most considerable damage was recorded in rice cultivation, amounting to PHP84.50 million. Other affected sectors include high-value crops, bananas, livestock, and corn, with losses calculated at PHP9.21 million, PHP3.91 million, PHP2.48 million, and PHP1.29 million, respectively. The flooding was particularly severe in Northern and Eastern Samar provinces, with Northern Samar experiencing the highest impact, especially in its rice fields, affecting about 1,452 farmers and 1,357 hectares of land.
The Department's regional office noted that the usual rice cropping season, which begins in November and ends in May, will now face adjustments due to the need for rehabilitation. Planting, which was anticipated to peak in January 2024, will be rescheduled to accommodate recovery efforts. In response, the Department has committed to providing free rice seeds to farmers in the four regions unaffected by the flooding caused by the low-pressure area and shear line.
The Department also advised local government units to maintain vigilance in monitoring field conditions and to promptly report any further damages. Farmers who have suffered losses are encouraged to report immediately to their municipal or city agriculture offices for validation and inclusion in the damage assessments. Eastern Visayas, where the Samar provinces are located, is primarily an agricultural region, with 45 percent of its land devoted to farming, mainly focusing on coconut, rice, corn, and various other crops.