Photo Courtesy of Dr. Romeo Cabungcal

Palawan’s agriculture sector absorbed P3 billion in losses from Typhoon Odette as of January 17, the Office of Provincial Agriculture (OPA) said.

Provincial agriculturist Dr. Romeo Cabungcal said during the question hour of the provincial board on Tuesday that Typhoon Odette severely affected the agriculture sector, particularly its high-value crops and fisheries.

Cabungcal said that based on their latest record, the most heavily affected farmers were 5,106 for rice; 65 for corn; 6,906 for coconut; 476 for cassava; 13,680 for banana; and 8,654 for cashew.

“Most of the areas affected are in the northern part of the province, particularly in Roxas, where there are 2,018 farmers affected,” Cabuncal said.

He added that most of the affected commodities are high-value crops such as mango, coconut, banana, calamansi, cashew, rubber, pineapple, and sweet potato, with 21, 628 affected farmers.

He also noted that 17,459 high-value crops with a total value of P2 billion were lost.

“High-value crops are the most damaged in terms of commodities. The most affected are mangoes, coconut, banana and calamansi,” he said.

For the fishery sector, Cabungcal said 88,442 fishermen were also affected, leaving P2 million in losses in learning sites in the towns of Roxas and San Vicente, while agri-fisheries machinery, including warehouses and poultry houses, worth P117 million, was also lost.

“Ito ang nagbibigay ng technical support sa ating mga farmers. Karamihan naman po sa damage na ito ay mga partially damaged lang,” Cabungal said.

He also said what they are recommending to high-value crop farmers right now is to [plant] fast-growing crops for their immediate recovery from their loss.

“The [farmers of] high value crops, wala na silang pagkukunan ngayon. It takes about three to five years to regain ‘yong mga puno like cashew and mango. Kaya on our part [tinitingnan natin] ang mga fast crops, mga fast growing na pwedeng pagkakitaan ng ating mga farmers,” he explained.

He also said they will be sourcing seaweed seedlings from outside the province for the 5,532 seaweed farmers who also lost their livelihoods to be able to restart.

“Iniisip namin dito ang provision ng mga seaweeds seedlings but the problem is wala na tayong source sa province na pinagkukunan ng seedlings. We will be sourcing out from other provinces,” he said.

The Provincial Information Office also reported earlier that agriculture, along with the infrastructure sector, recorded P7.8 billion worth of damage brought by the typhoon.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.