Karding aftermath: Veggie, fish, rice prices to go up 20%

Prices for vegetables, fish and even rice could shoot up by as much as 20 percent as a result of the damage wrought by super typhoon Karding, the Department of Agriculture (DA) warned Thursday.

KARDING’S WAKE. Photo shows an aerial view of a flooded area in the country’s rice granary, Central Luzon, in the aftermath of Typhoon Karding. AFP

Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said in an interview that the country’s rice granary, Central Luzon, sustained severe damage during the typhoon, resulting in the loss of 20 percent of the standing crop.

“The typhoon has affected, more or less, 91,944 farmers and fisherfolk. Lost production was estimated at 117,663 metric tons (MT) of combined crops,” he said.

Gale-force winds damaged crops in six farming towns in Nueva Ecija and in the provinces of Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan and Quezon. Lost palay accounted for at least 20 percent of the total area planted to rice.

Regional field reports said Karding affected 150,693 hectares of farmlands in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol Region and Western Visayas.

The typhoon damaged P1.66 billion worth of palay or paddy rice, P36.9 million worth of corn, P271 million in high-value crops, P7.1 million in livestock and poultry, and P43 million in fisheries.

To help affected farmers and fishers, the DA has distributed P170.34 million worth of rice seeds, P23.16 million worth of corn seeds and P13.55 million worth of assorted vegetable seeds; P2.45 million worth of animal heads, drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry; fingerlings and fishing paraphernalia.

It has also provided loans of up to P25,000 payable in three years at zero interest under the Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Program from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council.

Panganiban assured consumers there is enough rice in the market following the 60-day buffer stocking mandate of the National Food Authority.

While importation is an option, he said the DA is trying to maintain the 60-day buffer stock.

“For now we have enough. We’re hoping that the current cropping harvest will be good enough until 2023,” he said.

Panganiban also assured consumers there is also enough pork and chicken for the upcoming holiday season.

“In fact, we’re seeing better production of pork and a surplus in chicken output for the third and fourth quarter,” he said.

The DA expects the arrival of sugar by November will soften the retail price of the sweetener by at much as P30 a kilo.

Starting October 2022, the government expects sugar prices to drop to P70 to P80 per kilo for refined sugar coming from a high of P100 to P110 a kilo.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said P29.6 million worth of assistance has already been distributed so far to the victims of Typhoon Karding.

DSWD spokesperson Rommel Lopez said in a radio interview the regions most affected by the typhoon are Ilocos, Cagayan, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol, and Cordillera.

Lopez said the number of houses that were damaged is estimated at 12,000, most of them from Calabarzon, Cagayan and Central Luzon.

He said the DSWD was having a hard time transporting relief to Polilo Island and General Nakar in Quezon.

Also on Thursday, the Social Security System announced it will open two programs to extend financial assistance to members and pensioners in areas affected by super typhoon Karding.

SSS President And Chief Executive Officer Michael Regino said the programs are the calamity loan assistance program (CLAP) for members, and the three-month advance pension for SSS and Employees’ Compensation pensioners.

Under the CLAP, members may avail of a loan equivalent to the average of their last 12 monthly salary credit or the amount they applied for, whichever is lower.

For the three-month advance pension, the proceeds will be based on the amount of the pensioner’s monthly pension.

The state weather bureau said six to nine more tropical cyclones are expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility this year.

PAGASA Administrator Vicente Malano said the number of super typhoons entering the country has increased compared to past years becausePAGASA as well as its counterparts in other countries changed their definition of super typhoon.

Previously, a tropical cyclone with winds of at least 220 kilometer per hour was considered a super typhoon. Now, a tropical cyclone with at least 185 kph is already categorized as a super typhoon, he said.

So far, three super typhoons named Henry, Josie, and Karding entered the country but only Karding made landfall, Malano said.

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