While the Taal Volcano eruption has already damaged P577.59 million worth of crops and livestock, the volcanic ash that covered several areas also brings benefits as it will improve soil fertility over the long term, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
Data released by the DA office in the Southern Tagalog region as of January 14 showed that the eruption has already affected 2,772 hectares of farm lands and 1,967 animal heads.
Damaged farms had rice, corn, coffee, cacao, banana and high-value crops.
Alert Level 4 is still up in the area, which means a hazardous eruption is expected within hours or days.
Although currently destructive, the volcanic ash deposits will also contribute to the so-called “birth of soil”, or the renewal and replenishing of soil nutrients in the affected farms. The Bureau of Soils and Water Management said this will improve soil fertility on medium to long term.
The DA interventions so far include P21.7 million worth of crops and livestock to be distributed by DA CALABARZON to 17 LGUS including Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Talisay, Lemery, Laurel, Lipa City, San Jose, Nasugbu, Mataas na Kahoy, Balete, Cuenca, Alitagtag, Padre Garcia, Tanauan City, Malvar and Taal.
“These interventions include the provision of livestock for restocking and rice and corn seeds, high-value crops planting materials and other production inputs,” the DA said.
Also, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has available drugs and biologics to be provided for the affected livestock. Also, two trucks are available to mobilize the affected areas for animal rescue and evacuation.
The DA added: “As for the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), a total of 5,000 coffee mother plants and 1,000 cacao seedlings are ready for distribution for damaged coffee and cacao areas.”
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will prepare immediate assistance in the form of fingerlings (7M fingerlings for tilapia; 20,000 for Ulang; 50,000 for hito; 100,000 for Bighead Carp; and 5,000 fingerlings for Ayungin) once aquaculture operation in the Lake will resume.
“Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) has an initial amount of Php 30M ready to provide to Rural Bank of Mt. Carmel as funds for the implementation of Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Assistance that will benefit around 1,200 farmers/fisherfolk in Batangas. In addition, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) has available and enough funds to pay for the indemnity of the affected insured farmers and fisherfolk,” the DA said.