Strong quake damages irrigation systems, other farm infra

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the cost of damage to farm infrastructure in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) caused by the strong earthquake has reached P44.2 million.

In its latest report, the DA Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center (DA-DRRM) said the 7.0-magnitude earthquake damaged various irrigation systems, farm-to-market roads (FMRs) and farm structures in CAR.

“Based on the National Irrigation Administration’s (NIA) assessment conducted by various regional officers, the Upper Chico RIS Main Canal in Tabuk, Kalinga and four (4) [national irrigation systems] and two (2) [communal irrigation systems] were affected,” DA-DRRM OpCen said in its fourth bulletin.

“Moreover, no damage was observed in Pantabangan and Magat dam based on initial assessment. These values are subject to validation.”

The DA-DRRM OpCen said the temblor also destroyed agricultural facilities in Abra, which included FMRs, satellite offices, and a pigpen.

It added damage to various irrigation systems in CAR reached P29.647 million; in Ilocos Sur, P18.2 million; and in Abra, P6.947 million, according to the DA-DRRM OpCen report.

The DA-DRRM OpCen said vegetable trading at trading posts in Northern Luzon is slowly going back to normal.

It noted that total vegetables traded at the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC), La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post, and private trading areas in La Trinidad, Benguet last July 28 was at 1,534 metric tons (MT), 379 MT lower than the volume traded last July 27.

“The reduction can be attributed to farmers delaying their harvest as they may be anticipating lesser traders at the centers as an aftermath of the quake or landslides on the roads linking production areas to major roads, which caused partial closure to traffic,” it said.

“As of 11 a.m. on July 29, 2022, there is an increase of 505 metric ton inflow of highland vegetable supply traded at BAPTC and other trading centers within La Trinidad.”

The DA-DRRM OpCen said the DA-CAR RFO also mobilized two units of Kadiwa trucks loaded with 2.66 MT of assorted vegetables, dried fish and other basic food items to municipalities in the province of Abra, specifically the municipalities of San Quintin, Pidigan, Bangued, Tayum, Dolores, Lagangilang, and Bucay.

It added that the National Food Authority (NFA) assured earthquake-affected areas of sufficient rice buffer stock that could be distributed for relief operations in CAR, Regions 1, 2 and 3.

The NFA has issued a total of 45 bags of rice to the Red Cross, and 100 bags of rice to the local government unit of Benguet for relief operations.

The DA-DRRM OpCen said the agency has prepared various interventions to the affected farmers and fishermen, including 126,045 bags of rice seeds, 20,454 bags of corn seeds and 3,379 kilograms of assorted vegetable seeds in Regions CAR, Regions 1, 2, and 3.

It added that 1,000 doses of vitamins, 1,000 doses of antibiotics, 500 doses of dewormers, and 3,000 doses of vaccines are available for livestock and poultry in Region 2.

The DA said it is fast-tracking the release of fuel subsidy and Rice Farmers Financial Assistance to affected regions, according to the DA-DRRM OpCen.

“The DA and its Bureaus, Attached Agencies, and Corporations continuously coordinate with concerned NGAs, LGUs and other DRRM-related offices for the impact of the phenomenon, as well as available resources for interventions and assistance.”